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Reaction: PM’s speech on extra NHS funding and better long-term planning

Professor Russell Viner, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

“The Government’s commitment to a long-term plan is a much-deserved 70th birthday present for the NHS. A focus on prevention, which will help to reduce pressures on our health services in the future, is encouraging.

“Investment in public health will reap long-term rewards, and we look forward to seeing more detail on a public health budget to be announced in the spending review. This will be essential for a healthy and productive future population.

“We’re pleased that the Government will produce a comprehensive workforce strategy as part of this long-term plan. With a current shortage of paediatricians and recruitment numbers falling, a robust and meaningful plan for the future of the paediatric workforce is essential to ensure that we can deliver safe and high quality services for children and young people.

“A move to flexible, integrated, patient-focused care to ensure that patients are seen at the right time and in the right setting is essential for children and young people, many of whom can be better served by services in the community rather than in hospital. This can only be achieved, however, by providing child health training to all health professionals involved with the care of children and young people.

“We await with interest more details on how these flexible models of care will work in practice.

“We welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to tackling poor mental health and childhood obesity – the two greatest epidemics facing our nation’s young people – but would like to see more clarity on what this long-term plan will be mean for children. Child health outcomes in the UK are among the worst in Western Europe, and without a concerted focus on reversing current worrying trends, we will struggle to make our NHS the envy of many across the world and move the country back to a world leader in improving child health as it was 40 years ago.

“That’s why children and young people must be front and centre of this long-term plan for the NHS, and we look forward to working closely with Government on the detail to help ensure a healthier future for all.”

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation

“The Prime Minister has thrown down the gauntlet and made clear that the NHS and its staff can now help to shape its future. That is hugely welcome.

“The new money represents a major investment guaranteed over a five-year period and quite rightly government and society will expect the NHS to deliver. But we must set realistic goals and make clear that there will be hard choices ahead.

“The danger is that we overpromise and under deliver.

“The biggest challenge will be to make sure we do not just put more money into existing services but instead reform the way services are run.

“We are delighted that the Prime Minister remains committed to making sure we have the staff we need, that mental health is properly resourced and that social care gets its own long term plan. On social care, certainty for the future is needed now – without it the NHS plans outlined today simply will not work.

“This sizeable investment falls some way short of the 4% extra-a-year figure the evidence-based independent report we commissioned said was required to meet future challenges. These will still be tough years ahead.”

Nuffield Trust Chief Executive Nigel Edwards

“We must now see similarly bold action on social care. Unless we can find a solution to the conundrum of how to fund long term care, attempts to sustain and improve the NHS will be in jeopardy.”

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