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Thu, 1 October 2020

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MPs seek cross party group to “sustain NHS”

MPs seek cross party group to “sustain NHS”
2 min read

Ninety MPs have signed a letter calling for a cross party convention to be brought in to sustain the NHS and social care in the face of growing debts and demand.

The letter also comes ahead of Philip Hammond’s budget speech next week.

They say a non-partisan debate is needed to deliver a "sustainable settlement" to fund social care costs.

One third of the MPs who signed the letter were Conservative, with Dr Sarah Wollaston chair of the Health Select Committee, leading the pack.

Former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan and Andrew Mitchell also joined the signatories.

Labour MPs to sign include Liz Kendall, Chuka Umunna, Hilary Benn, Frank Field and Caroline Flint.

Among the Liberal Democrats to have signed are Sir Vince Cable, Sir Ed Davey, Tim Farron and Norman Lamb.

Sarah Wollaston told BBC Radio4's Today Programme: "Ultimately these are political choices about how we bring the money in, who pays, how we make that as fair as possible. We know in this country we don't want to move to an NHS that looks at private top ups. Want we want to look out is how we maintain an essentially tax funded system because that is the most equitable system."

There were other ways to bring money into the NHS, she said.

Dr Wollaston also said making any changes to the NHS with a hung Parliament would be very difficult, which was why it was important to show there was cross party support for reforms.

The Government maintained it was “committed” to making the NHS sustainable.

The letter argued that only a cross-party NHS and social care convention - a forum for non-partisan debate - could deliver a sustainable settlement for these services where conventional politics had failed to do so.

"We understand that fixing this is immensely challenging and involves difficult choices," the MPs said.

"We all recognise, though, that patients and those needing care are too often failed by a system under considerable strain."

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