Norman Lamb calls for commission into health and social care
In early January, Lib.-Dem. MP and former coalition social care minister Norman Lamb introduced a Private Member’s Bill calling for the establishment of an independent cross-party commission to examine the future of the NHS and social care systems.
Mr Lamb, who has received the backing from Conservative and Labour former health secretaries Stephen Dorrell and Alan Milburn, believes that only a full non-partisan commission will properly deal with the crisis in health and social care. They have been joined in this call by NHS survival – a group of 8,000 doctors, patients and members of the public committed to ensuring the survival of the health service.
The former care minister believes the commission would be a “Beveridge Report” for the 21st Century, and be the first of its kind since the creation of the NHS and welfare state. Its aim is to engage with the public, staff in the NHS and care services and civic society on the massive challenge the NHS and care services face. The Health Foundation has estimated that there will be a £6bn funding gap in Social Care by 2020
“The NHS and social care face an existential crisis,” said Mr Lamb.
“Demand for services continues to rise year on year but funding is failing to keep up. The position in social care is perhaps even more serious.
“Growing pressures on services are so severe that all parties must come together to fundamentally re-think how we can guarantee the future of the NHS and social care services.
“The Government cannot avoid this issue any longer. Establishing this commission will show they are serious about protecting these vital public services.”
Mr Lamb’s call to establish the commission has been welcomed by many age-related charities and care provider associations. Care England chief executive professor Martin Green said the health and care system was built on outdated demographics, while the UK’s spend on health and social care was significantly less than the OECD and European averages.
“After a wholly insufficient Spending Review announcement, we are staring into the abyss of an outdated and unfair system, which offers no stability to providers or care users,” said Prof. Green.
“Norman Lamb’s bill is a positive start to the New Year. As Norman Lamb sensibly suggests, the commission should decide what percentage of GDP we want to commit to health and social care, how we pay it and what the health and social care system(s) of the future will look like: including further integration, the possibility of a care tax and bringing together different funding routes. We need cross-party support for this commission and its reforms, to create a system fit for the 21st Century.”