Health and Social Care Debate
Many constituents wrote and asked me to attend the health and social care debate on 27 February.
I was able to attend part of the debate and listened very carefully to the Minister’s winding-up speech, which you can read in full here: https://goo.gl/gIu2xM
I can assure you that the Government is working very hard to support these sectors and I support its commitment to increase NHS spending in England by £10 billion in real terms per year by 2020/21. The Government has front-loaded it, as it was asked to do by NHS England, with £6 billion extra by the end of 2016-17. Nearly £4 billion of that will be provided just this year which, as the Chief Executive of NHS England has said, will ‘kick-start’ the transformation of provision.
We want to ensure that the NHS continues to improve and become the safest, highest quality health service in the world with a truly 7-day NHS. There will be a 14 per cent real terms increase in funding for GP services by 2020/21 and the Government will deliver 5000 additional doctors working in General Practice by 2020, along with 3000 practice-based mental health therapists, 1500 co-funded practice clinical pharmacists, and nationally funded support for the wider primary care workforce.
The Government is committed to maintaining and delivering the vital four hour A&E standard to patients. However, it is widely understood that too many people are going to A&E unnecessarily, and therefore we must look at ways to protect the four hour target for people who need it most. This will be done through triaging more people at the 'front doors' and pointing them towards more appropriate services, as well as giving more information to the public so they can make the right decisions about the services they need to access.
In relation to social care, the Government is giving local authorities additional funding and flexibility so that they will have access to an additional £3.5 billion by 2020, providing a real terms increase in funding by the end of this Parliament.
There will be greater flexibility over the use of the council tax social care precept, so that local authorities can choose to raise extra money - councils can choose to raise it by three per cent this year and next year, rather than the two per cent each year originally planned. This will provide a further £208 million to spend on adult social care in 2017-18 and £444 million in 2018-19.
The Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Health are well aware of my concerns to ensure that sufficient resource is devoted both to the NHS and social care in particular, and I will continue to make such representations on these crucial issues.