Extra £20bn a year for NHS not enough, says NAO head Morse

2 Jul 18

The recently announced £20bn a year NHS funding boost will not be enough to meet the needs of the UK’s growing and changing population, the head of the National Audit Office has told The Guardian.

Sir Amyas Morse warned unless the government to provided funding parity and a “united vision” for health and social care only current service levels could be maintained.

“It is quite clear that if you don’t have a balance of capabilities between social care and healthcare, then you are just going to be tipping people from one to the other,” he said.

“It is necessary to have enough funding going into social care so it is retentive of people living as far as possible independently and not falling back into the health services.”

Although, he acknowledged, there was not currently “enough common ground across the political spectrum” to find funding for both health and social care.

Morse said: “The funding increases we have heard are very much welcome but are just in healthcare.

“Nonetheless, nobody is pretending it is doing more than sustaining the current services.”

The head of the public spending watchdog called for the NHS’s expansion to be “bigger and better” and “fully developed”.

He also urged for more patients to be offered healthcare at home, which he believed would keep people healthier for longer and avoid costly stays in hospital.

Separately, the NHS Confederation, which represents 85% of NHS providers and commissioners, has today released a ten-point plan for a ‘new’ NHS in England that includes a call to integrate health care and social services.

The level of unmet need in social care is a “disgrace” and causes greater pressure on the NHS, the umbrella-group said in its plan.

Its suggestions to improve healthcare also included a more patient-centred approach, new models of care in the communities and national and local strategies to recruit.

Administrative support and back office services should be streamlined, the NHS Confederation also said.

This comes after the NHS England’s chief executive Simon Stevens revealed to The Andrew Marr Show yesterday that “significant planning” was underway to prepare the NHS for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit scenario.

The Department for Health and Social Care has been contacted for comment.

The prime minister announced the extra funding for the NHS in the UK last month – it would amount to £384m more in real terms for the health service each week by 2023-24. 

The care sector then called for a similar funding boost for their providers 

Glen Garrod, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said: “Putting money into the NHS without putting it into social care is like pouring water down a sink with no plug in.”

A joint health and local government committee report last week suggested the government create a ‘social care premium’ for employers, middle aged and older people to pay into to cover the cost of free social care.

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