Norman Lamb, Liz Kendall and Dan Poulter urge cross-party health and care talks
Senior figures in the Liberal Democrats, Labour and Conservatives have joined forces to renew calls for a cross-party commission on the future of the NHS and social care.
Norman Lamb, Liz Kendall and Dr Dan Poulter have issued a joint statement warning of “existential challenges” to the health system due to a shortage of funding and gaps in social care.
“Partisan politics has failed to come up with solutions,” the three MPs said.
“We fear that we will lose an institution that we all hold dear, unless we take action.”
They are urging Theresa May to set up a cross-party commission that could “facilitate a national conversation with the public and with healthcare staff” about how to resolve the challenges.
There have been a series of warnings about shortage of funding of the health service in recent months.
NHS Providers, representing hospitals in England, said the service can “no longer deliver what is being asked of it” at current funding levels, while the latest figures showed NHS trusts almost £500m in the red in just the first three months of the financial year.
Mr Lamb, a health minister under the Coalition Government, said: “The NHS is a national treasure, but its future cannot be taken for granted.
“Services are under intolerable pressure as funding fails to keep pace with demand. The evidence is overwhelming that rationing of treatment, longer waiting times, and deteriorating care will become increasingly rife if we carry on as we are.”
Ms Kendall, a former shadow health minister and Labour leadership candidate, said there was a need for a “new settlement” on health spending.
And Dr Poulter, another former health minister, said the NHS and social care systems were “struggling to maintain high standards of patient care under current funding plans”.
Chief Executive of Independent Age, Janet Morrison, backed the calls for a cross-party care commission saying, "Theresa May’s new government has an opportunity to be bold and address the challenges and opportunities of an ageing society." Read their full response here.