Theresa May faces NHS funding ‘revolt’

Theresa May faces NHS funding 'revolt'
Theresa May faces NHS funding 'revolt'
Theresa May faces NHS funding 'revolt'
Theresa May faces NHS funding ‘revolt’

Theresa May was facing pressure from senior backbenchers last night over NHS funding.

Almost 100 MPs have called on Theresa May to establish a cross-party commission to address the crisis in the NHS and in social care.

A letter sent to the Prime Minister calls for a parliamentary commission and signatories include 21 select committee chairmen and 30 former ministers.

The move is an attempt to break the “political deadlock” that has blocked repeated attempts to determine how to organise and fund services to cope with Britain’s ageing population.

The MPs say they are “seriously worried” the Government’s promised green paper on social care will fail to make progress and instead called for an approach examining the system as a whole.

Health Select Committee chairwoman Sarah Wollaston said: “We call on the Government to act with urgency and to take a whole system approach to the funding of the NHS, social care and public health.

“On behalf of all those who rely on services, we need to break down the political barriers and to agree a way forward.”

A similar commission was set up to reform the banking system were examined in the years following the financial crash and it allows a cross-party group of MPs and peers to look at an issue.

Dr Wollaston, a Tory MP, added: “We believe this is the best way to examine what funding is needed both now and into the long term and to seek a consensus on the options for sharing the costs.

“This year we mark the 70th anniversary of our NHS and we believe that the public want their vital health and care services to be given the funding needed to meet rising demand.”

Dr Wollaston co-ordinated the letter with fellow select committee chairmen Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb and Labour’s Frank Field.

Mr Lamb, care minister in the coalition government, said: “We need a fundamental review of health and care funding in order to safeguard the quality of these services in the longer-term and to finally deliver equal access to treatment for those who suffer from mental ill-health.

“This will inevitably involve difficult choices which no political party has been prepared to make.”

The letter said “system-wide pressures” over recent weeks could not be wholly blamed on flu and the cold snap, but “reflect more serious underlying issues facing the NHS, public health and social care”.

They warned: “Without action, patients will experience a serious further decline in services and the blame for that will be laid squarely at the door of politicians.”

Mr Lamb said the commission should consider the case for a ring-fenced NHS tax.

Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt has acknowledged such a move could enjoy public support as part of the effort to find more cash for the system.

He said people “would be prepared to see some of their own taxes going into the NHS” but they “want to know that money is actually going into the NHS and social care system”.

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