Baroness Joan Walmsley writes…Can’t we agree to agree on funding health and social care?

A sight that all of us will have seen since the Autumn is ambulances queuing at A & E and patients waiting on trolleys in hospital corridors. Some of us will have seen the situation at first hand, waiting with a relative or waiting for treatment. Bed occupancy has been dangerously high in many hospitals, with senior managers and doctors having to take decisions that, in some instances, are literally life or death.

Upsetting as these images are, they show only the tip of a very large iceberg that is threatening to sink an NHS and the social care system unable to cope with demand.

Three reports have been published this week which expose the crisis in other key services.

The Kings Fund’s report “Understanding NHS financial pressures: How are they affecting patient care?” looked at the impact on four services that rarely make the headlines: genito-urinary medicine (GUM) services; district nursing services; elective hip replacement services: and neonatal services. The report states:

The growing gap between demand for services and available resources means that staff are acting as shock absorbers, working longer hours and more intensely to protect patient care. ….
Our findings create a fundamental challenge to the direction of travel set out in the NHS five year forward view ……the NHS appears to be moving further away from its goal of strengthening community-based services and focusing on prevention, rather than making progress towards it.

The Neurological Alliance published a shorter study “Falling short: How has neurology patient experience changed since 2014?”, which shows that, in neurological services (for people with conditions including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s)

at every stage patient experience of care is falling short of what we reported in 2014.

A recent report by Young Minds on the crisis affecting CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) adds to the catalogue of evidence of rationing, although every sensible person knows that reducing CAMHS cuts pennies but costs pounds.

To add insult to injury, the government has decided to impose the Immigration Skills Charge (ISC), which from next month will charge employers, including those in health and social care, who bring in doctors and nurses from abroad on a Tier 2 visa, £1000 a year. This may not seem a large amount of money, but it adds up to £3.5m for doctors, £1.6m for trainee doctors and £0.65m for nurses according to the BMA and NMC. This is money diverted away from the front line and could discourage employers from recruiting essential staff.

All this supports our view that we must find £4bn right away to address the current funding crisis in health and social care. In the budget statement last week, all that we got was the promise of £2bn over three years for social care and a bit extra for A&E. That is no more than a sticking plaster! I look forward to the final report of the independent commission on funding of health and social care, set up by Norman Lamb MP to find a long term sustainable solution. It’s time politicians stopped using health and care as political footballs and started to find a grown up solution to the biggest issue facing our NHS and care system.

* Joan Walmsley is a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Advert

One Comment

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarOnceALibDem 19th Aug - 12:59am
    "The EU Withdrawal act is clear repeal happens on ‘exit day’ not any specific date." Only partly correct. The act defines 'exit day' as a...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 19th Aug - 12:00am
    Matt, Having a referendum puts back when a general election will be held. I think it is unlikely that the next general election will be...
  • User Avatarmatt 18th Aug - 11:24pm
    There is not a hope in hell of Corbyn getting into No 10, we are not going to see a Labour Prime minister for some...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 18th Aug - 11:23pm
    Mack, The examples I gave were in the nineteenth century not the eighteenth. The examples were of a new government being formed and then a...
  • User AvatarDavid-1 18th Aug - 11:02pm
    To actually get any sort of Vote of No Confidence through parliament, and any sort of new government in place, the Remain forces will need...
  • User AvatarRoland Postle 18th Aug - 10:36pm
    @ Dilettante Eye The EU Withdrawal act is clear repeal happens on 'exit day' not any specific date. It's the very first thing mentioned: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2018/16/crossheading/repeal-of-the-eca/enacted...
Sun 18th Aug 2019
Sat 24th Aug 2019
Thu 29th Aug 2019
Mon 9th Sep 2019