The future funding of health and social is a vital issue. The failure of the Tory government to properly fund our NHS and the decision to deprive councils of the resources needed to properly fund social care has created a crisis.
I stood at the 2015 General Election on a manifesto that pledged to properly integrate physical health, mental health and social care so that every individual could be treated as a whole person, and not fall through gaps in provision.
Under the Tories, our NHS is in crisis. Patients are waiting for hours in overcrowded A&Es, waiting lists are rising and hospitals are facing huge financial problems.
For instance, since 2010, the number of people waiting longer than four hours in A&E has soared. Spending on mental health fell by £600 million in the last parliament and there are over 6,600 fewer mental health nurses today than in 2010.
Last year, 1.8 million people waited four hours or longer in A&E compared to just over 350,000 in 2009/10. Waiting lists are soaring with an estimated 3.8 million people in England waiting for treatment. In social care, the Tories cut £4.6 billion from budgets in the last parliament and they’ve completely failed to set out a proper plan to fund it, now and into the future.
Behind every statistic is a real person being denied the treatment and care they need and increasing concern and worry for their family and friends.
Today’s debate in Parliament covers a number of aspects of Health and Social care, with reference to six Select Committee Reports which were published in 2016/17 Session:
- Impact of the Spending Review on health and social care
- Personal budgets in social care
- NHS specialised services
- Discharging older people from acute hospitals
- Improving access to mental health services
- UnitingCare partnership contract
The crowdfunded research paper produced through 38 Degrees is a valuable contribution in the continuing debate about many of the issues raised in these reports and how integration between mental health, physical health and social care can be achieved. I believe that what we need now is concrete action from government and firm proposals about how it intends to solve the long-term funding of health and social care in our country.
As a member of the Health Select Committee, I know that many of the ideas contained in the paper will be discussed and used to hold the government to account.