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NHS Confed calls for Department of Health and Care in bold manifesto

NHS Confederation has today urged politicians to get behind the country’s ailing health and social care services by committing to 10 proposals to improve the state of the NHS.

Releasing its manifesto for the NHS, the Confederation has followed a number of other organisations in highlighting specific points related to health and social care that they argue must be addressed by the next government.

One of these points calls on the government to establish a Department of Health and Care to ensure that the government commits to proper integration between health and social care, an idea also mooted last year by the ‘Breaking Barriers’ report written by Prof Lord Patel and Hazel Blears.

Other points include committing to an NHS funding target, establishing an Office for Budgetary Responsibility for Health and pledging a £2bn-a-year transformation fund to support and reform struggling services.

Implementing a cap on social care costs and protecting the working status of NHS staff from within the EU were also seen as essential issues for politicians to focus on while campaigning.

“The 2017 general election will be dominated by the implications of the UK’s historic decision to leave the EU,” the report stated.

“The nation also faces a once-in-a-generation decision that will shape the fate of millions of UK citizens: how will it fund a health and care system under unprecedented demand? And what support is needed to transform services which, on current trends, will fail to care for an increasingly elderly population?

“This election is an opportunity to trigger a frank public debate on the future of our health and care system, which includes addressing the pressing issue of funding services adequately over the next few years.”

The new chief executive of NHS Confed, Niall Dickson, also argued that it is time for “society as a whole to face up to the health and care challenge and to bring evidence and some certainty to what is one of the greatest challenges facing this country”.

“This election is understandably going to be dominated by Brexit, but unless we act soon we will face another daunting issue – a health and care system that is simply incapable of meeting modern needs,” he added.

Today’s news follows a number of similar calls from different health organisations for the direction that the new government should take to support the NHS.

The Mental Health Policy Group, a coalition of six organisations including NHS Confed, for example, emphasised the importance of a new government committing to ambitions laid out in the FYFV.

The RCGP also warned politicians not to allow Brexit to eclipse problems with the NHS whilst setting out their policies to voters.

And Labour also made a number of bold promises to the NHS, including axing the unpopular 1% pay cap to raise wages for “overworked” NHS staff.

The next edition of NHE (May/June) will feature an interview with Dickson on NHS Confed’s manifesto.

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