Leading MPs have called on Prime Minister Theresa May to act on evidence that NHS and social care funding has reached ‘breaking point’ and invite all political parties to a review group to determine a long-term solution.
Chairs of the House of Commons’ Health, Public Finance, and Local Government committees have all written to Theresa May today to say that a workable plan will only be achieved through cross-party consensus.
The letter says this work must happen swiftly, to be ready for the next government spending round with the Spring budget due 8 March, and stress that it must cover the NHS and care sector.
Each of the committees has, in the past months, been conducting its own reviews on the financial sustainability of the NHS and care sector.
GP and health committee chair, Dr Sarah Wollaston, is a signatory alongside fellow chairs Meg Hillier, and Clive Betts.
Their letter says: ‘We are calling for a new political consensus to take this forward. This needs to be done swiftly so that agreement can be reflected in the next spending round.
‘We also feel that the ongoing separation of health and social care is creating difficulties for individuals and avoidable barriers and inefficiencies. Any review should cover the two systems. In short, the problem is widely recognised-we now need political agreement so that a solution for the long term can be found.’
Responding to the letter, BMA chair Dr Mark Porter said the current crisis was down to ‘years of inadequate funding’ and politicians off all parties ‘failing to take a long-term view on what needs to happen.’
He added: ‘Now is the time to put politics to one side and reach a cross-party consensus on how to tackle this crisis.’
King’s Fund chief executive Chris Ham said: ‘For too long there has been a lack of political leadership on these issues. We agree with the committee chairs that a political consensus that puts health and social care funding on a sustainable footing is sorely needed.’