Committee chairs urge May to address health and care funding

6 Jan 17

Three select committee chairs are calling on prime minister Theresa May to facilitate cross-party agreement on future health and social care funding.

Health committee chair Sarah Wollaston, communities and local government committee chair Clive Betts and Public Accounts Committee chair Meg Hillier have joined forces to prepare a letter for the prime minister, which is dispatched today. They say they lead the three committees with the “most direct interest in the future sustainability of the health and social care systems”.

The letter follows May’s appearance before parliament’s Liaison Committee in December at which she acknowledged the need for a review of social care funding.

“We believe that can best be achieved if there is cross-party consensus, and therefore urge you to invite all parties to become involved in a review, which should begin as soon as possible,” the MPs write.

“Given the scale of rising demand, this immense challenge will face whichever party is in government over the coming decades.”

The letter highlights the number of reviews that have been carried out in past years, including Sir Derek Wanless’s and Sir Andrew Dilnot’s, and suggest much of this work could be the basis for progress.

“We are calling for a new political consensus to take this forward. This needs to be done swiftly so that agreement can be reflected in the next spending round,” the MPs state.

“We also feel that the ongoing separation of health and social care is creating difficulties for individuals and avoidable barriers and inefficiencies. Any review should cover the two systems.

“In short, the problem is widely recognised – we now need political agreement so that a solution for the long term can be found.”

Commenting on the letter, Chris Ham, chief executive of the King’s Fund, said the MPs were right to call for a political consensus on the issue.

“For too long there has been a lack of political leadership on these issues,” he said.

“Without a consensus, patients and people in need will suffer.”

  • Vivienne Russell

    Vivienne Russell is managing editor of Public Finance magazine and publicfinance.co.uk

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