Dickson: ‘New approach’ needed to pay for health and social care

The NHS cannot go on as it is, the NHS Confederation has warned.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s Spring Statement, Niall Dickson, chief executive of NHS Confederation, said that the there is an opportunity for the chancellor to “signal a new approach to paying for our health and care services.”

He said that “patients are suffering” and “staff are exhausted,” and that “there is a growing consensus that we cannot go on as we are.”

Although NHS Confederation recognises the difficulties in managing public finances, Dickson warned that the current system is unsustainable, and that there needs to be a new approach to health and social care.

“An approach that recognises that an effective health service working hand in glove with our life sciences sector should not be seen as a drain on public finances but a key to economic prosperity,” he explained.

He called on the government to work with those involved in health and care to produce a plan for England for the next 15 years, committing to meet the demands of a changing demography and with clear expectations of what services should be able to provide.

Responding to Philip Hammond’s comments that there is “light at the end of the tunnel” of austerity, made to the BBC yesterday, Dr. Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said that with no concrete spending pledges, overworked doctors remain “very much in the dark” about the future of the health service.

“The NHS has just endured the most challenging winter on record, in which we saw the perfect storm of unprecedented demand, staff shortages and lack of resources collide in the face of underfunding, leaving hospitals running at absolute capacity and patients facing unacceptable waits in ambulances and corridors,” he stated.

Nagpaul concluded: “While the chancellor’s optimism over the economy sounds positive, the government must now follow it up with a promise to invest properly in the NHS to fund the extra staff and resources that are so desperately needed to ensure high quality and safe patient care.”

Top image: cglade

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