Hospital Dr News

Hunt asks MPs for funding ideas as experts call for long-term NHS and social care plan

A long term funding plan must bring health and care together and move away from short-term cash injections that do not enable transformation.

That’s the message from the NHS Confederation, in response to reports that Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt has written to Tory MPs asking for their help in solving NHS funding problems.

In the letter, Mr Hunt said he has already begun meeting groups of MPs to talk about reforms but appealed for others to come forward with ideas.

In March, Theresa May announced that a long-term financial plan to stop the NHS being hit by funding crises would be put in place this year.

The Prime Minister admitted the health service “can’t afford to wait” until the planned review of public spending in 2019 and said the Government needed to get away from annual top-ups of its budget.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, commented: “This is an opportunity for the government and politicians on all sides to show courage and leadership.

“The NHS is facing a funding and workforce crisis which means the next decade must be very different from the last.

“Any long-term funding settlement must bring health and care together and move away from short-term cash injections that do not enable transformation.

“We also recognise the importance of clarity around what health and care services should provide in return for extra investment.”

Mr Hunt acknowledged that health and social care must be “properly joined up” and cannot be dealt with in isolation.

He wrote: “As our preparations for this plan continue, and ahead of the NHS’s 70th birthday this summer, I would be very grateful to hear the views of colleagues.

“From all the dialogue and debate we have had since I undertook this role in 2012, I know how committed and passionate you are for the future and quality of our NHS, and how much you have to contribute to the government’s approach.”

Hunt has previously admitted that the NHS endured its “worst ever” winter following “very high levels of demand”.

His department advised hospitals to defer non-urgent operations at the height of the crisis to free up beds and hospital staff.

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