The NHS Confederation has sent a letter and briefing to the Prime Minister, asking him to prioritise social care and the NHS. The Confederation says there is much ‘unfinished business’ for the new government to resolve in the health and care sector.
The letter warns the Prime Minister that the question of NHS funding is not yet settled, despite the £20.5bn funding settlement that kicked in from April this year. It states that the settlement excluded some vital areas of expenditure that will in part determine whether the NHS can achieve the ambitions set out in the Long Term Plan, most notably capital spending, training and education budgets, public health and social care. Failure to address these and prioritise social care and the NHS in the next spending review will put the delivery of the plan in jeopardy, the NHS Confederation warns.
Amongst other topics, the organisation strongly welcomes the Prime Minister’s personal commitment to finding a solution to the crisis in social care that is leaving hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people unable to receive the vital care and support they need.
The organisation is also calling on the Prime Minister to ensure that people using health and care services do not suffer as a result of the UK’s exit from the European Union. Protecting the medical supply chain, honouring reciprocal healthcare agreements and establishing workforce agreements will be key.
Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, said, 'The Prime Minister’s to-do list is full...social care is a national disgrace, NHS pension inflexibilities are lengthening waiting times and a lack of capital funding is hampering hospitals trying to improve services for patients. On top of this, we have 100,000 staff vacancies which are damaging patient care. The Prime Minister has been in post a matter of days but we welcome his early personal commitment to addressing these issues. He needs to act with speed and conviction and we will work with him and his government to help find the right solutions.'
Sean Duggan, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Network said, 'Increased focus on, and investment in, mental health services has enabled us to provide better care for more people than before but there is still a long way to go. Fewer than two in five people are able to get the support they need. Mental health sees some of the highest vacancies in the NHS and we are detaining more people every year under the outdated Mental Health Act. On top of this, the racial disparities in detention rates are unacceptable. The commitments in the NHS Long Term Plan are a further jump towards true parity. We are looking forward to working with the Prime Minister and hope he seizes this pivotal opportunity to build on the recent progress and be a real champion for mental health.'