The NHS faces considerable funding challenges to maintain the level of safe, tailored care we all expect. By 2020, NHS England's Five Year Forward View predicts the NHS will need nearly £30 billion more each year.
We need a long-term plan agreed by the main political parties on how to fund the NHS into the future.
The independent Commission should consider:
- Creating an independent body to regularly set out the long-term funding needs for the NHS.
It would advise on how to divide the money between GP's, hospital care, and mental health care. It would be independent of Government and cover a longer timescale than five-year Parliamentary terms or yearly budget cycles. This could be similar to the Office for Budgetary Responsibility. Its remit may also include social care.
- Keeping the NHS available for all who need it, ensuring that the vulnerable and sickest in society don't bear the burden of their own healthcare costs.
- How to ensure patients are treated in the most appropriate, convenient place for them, particularly closer to home when appropriate. We need an NHS that works in step with social care. We need an NHS where unnecessary hospital stays are minimised and care is received where it's most appropriate for the patient. We need an NHS where patients are better empowered and educated so they can confidently self-manage their care where desired in partnership with professionals.
- How to ensure sustainable funding for 7-day GP out-of-hour services, and how to appropriately and effectively integrate NHS and social care where advisable.