Think-tank calls for NHS Royal commission

8 Jan 18

A think-tank has called for a Royal commission to safeguard the future of the National Health Service.

The Centre for Policy Studies, in a report out today, said such a body could stand above party politics to examine the NHS’s future.

CPS chair, the Conservative peer Lord Saatchi, said: “The wonderful dream of the NHS is turning into a recurring winter nightmare - and leaving it alone is a recipe for long-term catastrophe.

“A royal commission can cut through the Gordian knot, and put the NHS on a sustainable footing for the years to come."

The CPS, established in 1974 by Margaret Thatcher, noted the NHS enjoyed “near-universal support” among the public for a service that is tax-funded, free at the point of use, and provides comprehensive care for all, but also said people did not trust politicians to deliver answers to financial and other problems that beset it.

It noted the UK ranked 20th out of 23 countries for breast and bowel cancer survival and was in the lowest third of countries for heart attack deaths.

The CPS said a Royal commission should examine the structure, organisation and funding of the health service.

It would address the ageing population, the connection between health and social care, medical price inflation, the gap in outcomes between rich and poor, greater private sector involvement, potential additional sources of funding and the use of patient data.

Royal commission are inquiries set up by government where experts take evidence and make policy recommendations.

There were once quite common, but fell into disuse. According to the Institute for Government the last was on reform of the House of Lords in 1999-2000.

An earlier Royal commission on the NHS reported in 1979.

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