Press release

NHS Confederation responds to Conservative Party welfare reform plans

Matthew Taylor, NHS Confederation chief executive responds to the Conservative Party's plans for welfare reform.

8 June 2024

Responding to the Conservative Party’s plans on welfare reform, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation said: 

“With almost 3 million people in the UK now economically inactive due to long-term sickness we need to see much greater levels of support offered to those who are not in work due to poor physical or mental health.

“Our own research shows that investing in health is key to boosting the economy with every pound invested resulting in £4 back in wider economic activity, which is why it is vital that we treat investment in the NHS as an explicit tool of economic development.

“The health service is already making good progress in this with a number of regional integrated care systems recently selected as WorkWell pilot sites to help boost employment support and treatment available to those who need it, but over time this approach should be widened to provide access to all those who need it.

“Elsewhere, the Conservative Party’s proposal to introduce a ‘step-change’ in mental health treatment is to be welcomed, as is its recommitment to rolling out mental health support teams to schools and to funding support hubs for young people, as the government announced last year. 

“And while we welcome any initiative that could help to reduce demand on general practice, including a review of the fit note process, the deeper problem here is that people are sicker than they were with more complex healthcare needs. 

“That is why, as we have outlined in the NHS Confederation’s manifesto to a new government, that health leaders want to see a cross-government national mission for health improvement which shifts the focus from simply treating 

About us

We are the membership organisation that brings together, supports and speaks for the whole healthcare system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The members we represent employ 1.5 million staff, care for more than 1 million patients a day and control £150 billion of public expenditure. We promote collaboration and partnership working as the key to improving population health, delivering high-quality care and reducing health inequalities.