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18.04.18

Leaders say NHS long-term settlement must include social care

The long-term funding settlement announced by the prime minister should include both the NHS and social care, according to a poll by NHS Confederation.

The poll of NHS Confederation members found that 85% of respondents (144) thought that the long-term funding plan announced by Theresa May in March should include both sectors, in a move that would reflect their closer working and integration.

Last month, May told the parliamentary liaison committee that there is a need to move away from the annual approach to the NHS budget.

“This year and in advance of next year’s Spending Review, I do want to come forward with a long-term plan,” she said.

“I want that to be done in conjunction with NHS leaders and provide a multi-year funding settlement consistent with our fiscal rules and balanced approach.”

May reiterated this position in a letter to Dr Sarah Wollaston, chair of the Health Select Committee, saying: “Whilst the plan above focuses on the NHS, I am very clear that the long-term plan for the NHS must be joined up with social care and prevention even though responsibility for these issues lies across the NHS, central and local government.”

In response, NHS Confed has argued for the health and social care systems to operate as one, and warned of the danger of “lurching from budget to budget with short-term fixes.”

Together with the Institute of Fiscal Studies and the Health Foundation, the NHS Confederation will be conducting a comprehensive study into the funding needs of the UK’s health and care systems over the next 15 years.

The study will report in June 2018.

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