Patients’ Association: Call for cross-party process on NHS

The Patients’ Association (PA) has called for a cross-party process on the NHS in the light of the continuing crisis. In an open letter to the Prime Minister, the PA said:

Dear Prime Minister,

There can be no doubt about the scale of the challenges facing health and social care services in England. Barely a day goes by without news of immediate problems – service reductions, missed targets – and warnings of future failings. 2017 simply cannot be another year where these huge issues are ducked.

While the Government has taken some short term steps to try and relieve the pressures on the NHS and local authorities, without more fundamental action, these challenges will accelerate as our population increases and ages.

Although you have recognised the need to find a longer term solution, you have not yet said how you will go about developing one. Unless you adopt a bolder approach millions of older, ill and disabled people, will continue to be badly let down.

That’s why we are now calling for the government to establish a cross-party process to review and recommend action on future health and social care funding.

We believe that process should be:

  • Inclusive: established by the government with meaningful cross party engagement
  • Open:  Listening to the public and professionals who use and work in these services every day
  • Urgent: Ensuring the cross party process gets underway without delay

Such a process should not aim to ‘take the politics out of health and care’ but rather to make clear the costs and consequences of the political decisions that must be made. It should recognise that just as no one party should be blamed for the current challenges, nor can a genuinely long term solution be owned only by one party.

Brave thinking is required to ensure the right recommendations are backed with political will.  There can be no room for complacency. The time to act is now.

Doctors for the NHS supports the letter with the proviso that there is no weakening of NHS core values and with the understanding that the NHS remains free at the point of use and paid from taxation.


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