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MPs call for review of long-term NHS funding

98 MPs seek review of health and social care funding up to 2034

Adrian O'Dowd

Monday, 26 March 2018

A large cross-party group of MPs is today calling on prime minister Theresa May to set up a parliamentary commission on the long-term funding of health and social care.

The group of 98 MPs includes 21 select committee chairs and 30 former ministers from both sides of the House of Commons.

They have written a letter to Mrs May underlining their desire for a long-term review of funding for health and social care between 2019 and 2034 which should take into account potential productivity and quality improvement, including health prevention, to reduce demand.

Such a commission would, in effect, be a special select committee of both Houses of Parliament and could take an independent, cross-party approach to an issue the MPs describe as being ‘of national importance’ to help to break political deadlock that has prevented a realistic approach to increasing resources for health and social care.

System-wide pressures in recent weeks cannot just be attributed to flu and the cold weather, says the letter, but reflect serious underlying issues facing the NHS, public health and social care.

These systems were overstretched, poorly integrated and no longer able to keep up with rising demand and cost pressures of new drugs and technologies, said the MPs, who proposed a commission report by Easter of next year.

The House of Commons liaison committee, which is made up of the chairs of each of the select committees, is due to hold an evidence session tomorrow with Mrs May and the issue of a commission is likely to be discussed then.

The letter was coordinated by select committee chairs Dr Sarah Wollaston, Norman Lamb and Frank Field, and former ministers Liz Kendall and Nick Boles as well as the former permanent secretary to the Treasury, Lord Macpherson of Earl’s Court.

Dr Wollaston, chair of the health and social care committee and the liaison committee, said: “We call on the government to act with urgency and to take a whole system approach to the funding of the NHS, social care and public health. On behalf of all those who rely on services, we need to break down the political barriers and to agree a way forward.

“We are calling on the prime minister to set up a cross-party parliamentary commission of both Houses of Parliament. We believe this is the best way to examine what funding is needed both now and into the long-term and to seek a consensus on the options for sharing the costs.”

Former shadow minister for care and older people Liz Kendall, said: “The public knows we will have to pay more for the NHS and social care, and the strength of feeling in the country is reflected by the breadth of commitment to tackling this issue in Parliament.”

Norman Lamb, chair of the science and technology select committee, said: “We need a fundamental review of health and care funding in order to safeguard the quality of these services in the longer-term and to finally deliver equal access to treatment for those who suffer from mental ill-health.”

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