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13.06.18

Confed chair: Health and care funding talk just ‘hot air’ unless sectors work with each other

 The chair of a leading NHS body has called for greater collaboration between community-based and NHS healthcare, and reinforced arguments for a 4% increase in funding to improve healthcare over the next 15 years.

Speaking at the NHS Confederation Conference today in Manchester, Stephen Dorrell said a failure in one sector’s healthcare will have “damaging” effects on the other.

Dorrell cited a recent report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Health Foundation that found UK health spending lags behind other European leaders, and said greater funding will allow community social care to reduce the pressure placed on emergency and outpatient services, and vice versa.

“If we are to deliver universal healthcare which meets the needs of our changing population, the authors conclude that there needs to be a commitment to increase taxpayer resources available to both health and social care services at the rate of 4% per annum,” he told delegates at the event.

“Not 4% for the NHS and a squeeze local government – or a special fund to ease the pressures on social care. But 4% per annum for the NHS and 4% per annum for social care, year on year, between now and 2030.”

This week MPs called for ringfenced funding and a ‘national transformation strategy’ for health and social care, but Dorrell went further to claim that talk of this kind is “hot air” unless community care and acute services work efficiently and effectively to reduce demand on each sector, particularly during the winter months.

“Both sectors serve the same communities,” Dorrell continued, “and failure in either leads to demand pressures in the other. More importantly, failure of the NHS and social care to work with each other and the rest of local public services doesn’t just lead to distorted demand patterns; it leads to worse outcomes and damaged lives.”

 The NHS Confederation chair said that one of the biggest challenges the health industry will face is connecting discussion with what goes on in a GP’s surgery to the things that can benefit the daily tasks of a nurse or an A&E doctor in another area.

 Dorrell concluded: “Integrated and accountable care is not just a matter of improving the experience of care of the individual citizen – though that should be reason enough to rethink and improve our services.

 “Failure to implement new working methods across traditional institutional boundaries undermines the effectiveness of our services – and it undermines our commitment to the very principles of universal healthcare.”

Yesterday, NHS Confederation CEO Niall Dickson said a new approach was needed to pay for health and social care. “An approach that recognises that an effective health service working hand in glove with our life sciences sector should not be seen as a drain on public finances but a key to economic prosperity,” he explained.

Keep up to date with latest analysis and reports from the NHS Confederation Conference 2018 at National Health Executive and Public Sector Executive.

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