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Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to draw up long-term funding plans for the NHS this year.
Speaking yesterday (27 March) before the Liaison Committee, Ms May said that she would bring forward ‘a long-term plan in conjunction with leaders in the NHS, clinicians and health experts this year and in advance of next year’s funding review’.
Achieving ‘greater productivity and efficiency’
She continued: ‘We do need to have a sustainable long-term plan, which should build on the work of the Five Year Forward View (FYFV) but look beyond it – a plan that allows the NHS to realise greater productivity and efficiency gains.
‘The Government will provide a multi year funding settlement in support of the plan consistent with our feasible rules and balanced approach but ensuring the NHS can cope with the rising demand ahead of the spending review.’
‘We need to ensure countability in the NHS for every pound that is spent but also get away from the annual approach we see to the NHS budget and recognise that for the NHS to plan and manage effectively.’
Her comments come after 98 MPs – 102 at the time of writing – urged the Government to set up a commission to solve the NHS crisis, to which she will ‘respond fully in due course’, she said.
Funding isn’t the ‘only answer’
During the Budget 2017, the Government committed to investing £10bn every year in the NHS until 2020/21 to tackle pressures within the NHS.
But Ms May argued that ‘funding isn’t the only answer’.
She said: ‘Obviously, there are precious costs and demand pressure on the NHS. There are significant areas of new demands such as mental health services and those put pressure on the workforce.
‘There are some other important elements we need to look at. We need to spread the excellence we see in some part of the NHS across the whole of the NHS.
‘Care is still not sufficiently integrated for people who have both health and social care needs.’
‘Long-awaited first step’
Responding to the Prime Minister’s pledge, British Medical Association (BMA) council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘We cautiously welcome the Prime Minister’s comments, which represent a long-awaited first step in recognising the pressing and long-term needs of an NHS suffering after years of underinvestment, leaving patient care compromised.
‘However, we need to see the details of any plan before believing this will truly deliver on the rhetoric.’