Facing the funding conundrum: reaction to Labour’s plans

Nigel Edwards (24th September 2014) provides The Nuffield Trust comments on Labour’s plans for the NHS.

The dishonesty and obfuscation will continue until after the next election… A paralysed political and administrative class needs to be freed from the shackles of fear, and only this will empower clinical staff to re-engage. Exit interviews, especially if made public, will help further..

The future funding of health and social care is arguably the big public policy conundrum of our age, yet politicians have been reluctant to address the unprecedented financial squeeze. That was until this week’s pledge by Labour of £2.5bn of new NHS spending. In this blog, Nigel Edwards examines the significance of the announcement and argues that without a plan for the NHS to break even in the next Parliament, Labour’s pledge would fall at the first hurdle.

Alarm bells have been sounding about the financial health of the NHS for some time now. Back in 2012 we warned of a yawning £30bn funding gap within a decade; earlier this year we warned of a funding crisis before the General Election; and figures released just last week showed that even the hospitals we’d expect to be financially viable are going into the red.

The situation for social care is, if anything, even bleaker: cuts of over £600m to adult social care since 2010 mean that almost a third fewer older adults receive publicly funded care now than in 2010. And concern is rising over the quality of social care as austerity bites.

Listen to Andy Burnham at the Labour Party Conference: NHS ‘not for sale’ in Labour hands – BBC News 24th September

This entry was posted in A Personal View, Professionals, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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