Petition Theresa May: Seek an urgent cross-party solution to the health and care crisis

There can be no doubt about the scale of the challenges facing health and social care services in England. We need a cross-party approach to achieve a long-term solution to ensure millions of older, ill and disabled people and their carers can access the high-quality care they deserve.

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Barely a day goes by without news of immediate problems – service reductions, missed targets – and warnings of future failings. 2017 simply cannot be another year where these huge issues are ducked.

While the Government has taken some short-term steps to try and relieve pressures on the NHS and local authorities, without more fundamental action, these challenges will accelerate as out population increases and ages.

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Government responded

The Government recognises the pressures on the health and social care system. It is supporting the NHS’s own plan for the future and going further than ever before to integrate health and social care.

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The Government knows that the NHS is facing many challenges and there are increasing pressures on all parts of the health and care system. It is important to remember that the pressures faced by the NHS are common to most developed health systems and are due to, amongst other things, an ageing population, changing public expectations and the cost of new drugs. However we have more doctors, more nurses, more paramedics all delivering more treatments than ever, funded by a budget at record levels.

The NHS and wider health system has already examined what needs to be done to ensure the sustainability of the health and care system. This is why in the Spending Review in November 2015, the Government committed to increase funding for the NHS in England, with funding to be £10 billion higher in real terms by 2020-21, compared to 2014-15. This is the money that the NHS in England asked for and will support the NHS’s own plan for its future – the Five Year Forward View – which set out what needs to change and how this can be achieved of this new funding. £6 billion will be provided by the end of this year, kick starting the process of change, and enabling the Government to deliver Government objectives including seven day services and improved access to cancer treatments and mental health services. The Five Year Forward View is available on NHS England’s website – https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/5yfv-web.pdf.

We are making progress towards strategic system changes and new models of care. There is emerging evidence that the vanguards have had a significant impact, reducing pressure on busy services at local level since their launch. In the Fylde Coast Local Health Economy vanguard for example, early figures show that bringing different health professionals under one roof to support older patients with multiple conditions reduced A&E attendance by 13%. We will continue to support this work to design a world class health system, fit for the future.

Alongside this, we are giving local authorities access of up to £3.5 billion of new support for social care by 2019-20, through the social care precept and the Better Care Fund. And aware of the more imminent pressures on social care, the Government took the necessary steps in the recent Local Government Settlement to help in the shorter-term, making available almost £900 million of additional social care funding over the next two years.

The Government believes that the answer to the challenges faced by the health and social care system lies in delivering more integrated services and keeping people well and independent for longer, and in working with the NHS in implementing its own plan for the future of the NHS – the Five Year Forward View.

Department of Health

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