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Health think tanks have welcomed the Prime Minister’s call to introduce long-term funding plans for the NHS.
Speaking on 27 March before the Liaison Committee, Theresa May said that she would bring forward ‘a long-term funding plan this year and in advance of next year’s funding review’.
The move comes after 98 MPs urged the Government to set up a commission to solve the NHS crisis.
‘Best Easter present’
Responding to Ms May’s pledge, NHS Confederation chief executive Niall Dickson said:‘The Prime Minister’s promise really is the best possible Easter present for the health and social care system after a truly torrid winter.’
NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said: ‘We have been encouraged in recent weeks to see that the health secretary grasped the urgency of the situation, and it is good that the Prime Minister too has now recognised that this can not wait until the spending review.
‘We need a plan sooner rather than later.’
‘Welcome and long overdue’
Nuffield Trust chief executive Nigel Edwards said Ms May’s plans are‘very welcome and long overdue’.
He continued: ‘As our analysis has shown, the NHS faces a huge underlying financial gap that is set to grow every year unless we can move beyond the current system of one-off bungs and bailouts.’
The Health Foundation director of research and economics Anita Charlesworth said: ‘The prime minister’s commitment to long-term stable funding for the NHS is welcome.
‘The level of funding growth the NHS and care system need cannot be found within current government spending plans and the UK still has a deficit.’
Local Government Association’s (LGA) community wellbeing board chairman Cllr Izzi Seccombe said: ‘It’s good to see long-term investment in the NHS but government also needs to make the same commitment to adult social care, which deserves to be given parity with the health service.
‘Without an immediate injection of cash, even more providers will either pull out of contracts or go bust, leading to a lack of available care and a decrease in social care’s ability to help mitigate demand pressures on the NHS.’
Echoing Cllr Secombe’s comments, King’s Fund (KF) chief executive Chris Ham said: ‘The service faces a £20bn funding gap by the end of the Parliament and social care needs at least £2.5 billion more next year to keep up with demand.
‘A new health and social care settlement is required to stabilise both services and enable them to plan with certainty for a growing and ageing population.’