Conservatives rely on the NHS just as much as everyone else, and I am committed to ensuring that the NHS remains free at the point of need, regardless of ability to pay.
In Salisbury, we are fortunate to have an outstanding local hospital, and I regularly visit the Chairman and Chief Executive at Odstock. In addition to catch up meetings, I visit other wards and facilities to support a range of awareness campaigns and meet staff. In addition to this, I believe it is important to be engaged with GP surgeries, patient groups and care homes across the constituency, to understand the breadth of services provided and how they all interact.
There are increasingly significant demands on the NHS: people are living longer, with more chronic conditions and more treatments are coming online every day. All of these present a challenge to think about how health services are delivered and where we can improve community care.
Despite tight public finances, the Government has actively supported the NHS' own plan for the future. That is why it is providing the additional £10 billion of investment per annum in real terms by 2020/21 - compared to 2014/15 - requested to fund a transformation in care. This will allow the NHS to offer 800,000 more operations and treatments and spend up to £2 billion more on new drugs. It will also ensure that by 2020, everyone will be able to access GP services at evenings and weekends.
The Government is integrating and improving health and social care to protect people at every stage of their lives. Local authorities will be given greater powers so they can raise up to £2 billion by the end of this Parliament for adult social care through the introduction of a social care precept. This will be supported by making extra funds available for local government from 2017, rising to £1.5 billion by 2019/20 and to be included in the Better Care Fund. This will ensure that spending on social care will have risen in real terms by the end of this Parliament and protect the most vulnerable in society.
The Government has committed to unprecedented levels of mental health funding, including £1.25 billion for perinatal and children and young people's mental health, helping professionals to intervene early. To support teenagers with eating disorders, the Government has also invested £150 million.
The NHS will earmark an extra £2.4 billion a year for GP services by 2020/21, a 14 per cent real terms increase. Overall investment in primary medical care includes a £500 million Sustainability and Transformation package to help GP practices add to the workforce and tackle workload.