A cross-party group of MPs, including Plymouth MP, Johnny Mercer, have today called upon the Prime Minister to establish an NHS and Care Convention to find a long-term solution to the crisis in health and social care funding.
The statement, signed by over 20 MPs from the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats, said:
There is now a widespread recognition that the NHS and the social care system are under unsustainable strain, and that the pressures on the system are increasing and we will see failures of care. The consequences of this for many highly vulnerable people are very serious. We note that it is estimated that over a million older people in need of social care are not getting the care or support they need.
We welcome the Prime Minister’s focus on mental health, but also recognise that we will never achieve genuine equal treatment for those with mental ill health for so long as the whole system is under such financial pressure.
We are also concerned about the impact that these pressures are placing on staff in the NHS and the care system.
We recognise the importance of confronting this challenge and we accept that this transcends narrow party politics. A system designed to meet the needs of the population of this country in the 1940s is in need of renewal. It is not our intention to seek to blame any particular government or political party. Our aim is to find a sustainable solution that will have genuine cross-party support for the future.
In recognition of the scale of these challenges, we join together to launch a campaign to encourage the Government to establish a cross-party NHS and Care Convention to examine the future funding requirements of these cherished services and agree a new, long-term settlement to guarantee their sustainability for future generations and to ensure that this country has one of the best health and care systems in the world.
Now is the time for the Government to start a national conversation involving the public, civic society, healthcare professionals, carers and other experts.
We are pleased to note the call from over 70 health and care organisations including Medical Royal Colleges, charities and trade unions for the Prime Minister to initiate a cross party process.
There is a real urgency about this. The time to act is now, and we need the process completed within a clearly defined timescale.
Vulnerable people will be at risk if we do not confront this growing crisis, and we urge the Government to take immediate action in the interests of the country.
Johnny Mercer MP
Norman Lamb MP
Dan Poulter MP
Liz Kendall MP
Sarah Wollaston MP
Meg Hillier MP
Clive Betts MP
Frank Field MP
Nick Clegg MP
Andrew Murrison MP
Caroline Flint MP
Chuka Umunna MP
Jeremy Lefroy MP
Lisa Nandy MP
Tom Brake MP
Heidi Allen MP
Sarah Olney MP
Peter Bone MP
Greg Mulholland MP
Ivan Lewis MP
Mark Williams MP
John Pugh MP
Stephen McPartland MP
Alan Milburn, former Health Secretary
Stephen Dorrell, former Health Secretary
George Freeman MP, Chair of the Prime Minister’s Policy Board, responded initially:
One of the key Policy Challenges for our generation which we are determined to think through properly. https://t.co/WedgtdflYA
— George Freeman MP (@Freeman_George) January 11, 2017