Social care must get fair share, say health leaders

Jigsaw puzzle piece

The majority of health leaders believe that the long-term funding settlement recently announced by the Prime Minister should include both the NHS and social care.

A poll of members of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, found that 85 per cent thought the long-term funding plan announced by Theresa May in March should include both.

The question was put to 290 health leaders in England only and answered by 144.

Appearing before the parliamentary Liaison Committee on 27 March, the PM raised the need to move away from the annual approach to the NHS budget.

“This year and in advance of next year’s Spending Review, I do want to come forward with a long-term plan. I want that to be done in conjunction with NHS leaders and provide a multi-year funding settlement consistent with our fiscal rules and balanced approach,” Theresa May stated.

The position was reiterated in a letter to Dr Sarah Wollaston, chair of the Health Select Committee, on 28 March. In it, Ms May went on to say: “Whilst the plan above focuses on the NHS, I am very clear that the long-term plan for the NHS must be joined up with social care and prevention even though responsibility for these issues lies across the NHS, central and local government.”

The NHS Confederation has long argued for the NHS and social care systems to operate as one, warning of the danger of lurching from Budget to Budget with short-term fixes.

The organisation has teamed up with the Institute of Fiscal Studies and the Health Foundation to conduct a comprehensive study into the funding needs of the UK’s health and care systems over the next 15 years.

The study will report in June 2018.

Infographic: Member polling on PM's long-term funding plan

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