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PM needs to begin cross-party process on health and care funding, say City academics

Professor Julienne Meyer CBE and the Rt Hon Professor Paul Burstow have joined 73 other organisations and leading voices in the sector in an open letter to the Prime Minister

by George Wigmore (Senior Communications Officer)

Academics at City, University of London have called for Theresa May to urgently begin a cross-party process to find a long-term solution to the current crisis in health and social care funding.

Professor Julienne Meyer CBE and the Rt Hon Professor Paul Burstow – who holds an honorary appointment at City – have joined 73 other organisations and leading voices in the sector in an open letter to the Prime Minister. The other signees include Independent Age, Care England, Royal College of GPs, Royal College of Nursing, Leonard Cheshire Disability, Marie Curie and RNIB.

The letter warns that “2017 simply cannot be another year where these huge issues are ducked” and that unless the Prime Minister takes “a bolder approach millions of older, ill and disabled people and their carers will continue to be badly let down.”

This builds on calls last week from three Select Committee Chairs, Sarah Wollaston MP (Health Committee), Meg Hillier MP (Public Accounts Committee) and Clive Betts MP (Communities and Local Government Committee) for a cross-party agreement on health and social care funding.

The joint letter from organisations across the health and social care sector is published on the day that Norman Lamb MP launches a group of MPs calling for a cross-party approach on health and social care funding.

Today’s letter adds the voice of significant charities, organisations and leading voices working in health and social care to those of MPs, and sets out what kind of a cross-party agreement should be sought.

The 75 organisations and leading voices signed up to the letter are clear that the cross-party process must recommend clear actions that have the support of all parties, and that will ultimately make a difference to the lives of many older, ill and disabled people who rely on health and care services.

This cross-party process must begin immediately to find a sustainable solution to the problems in health and social care funding and have the political will behind it to deliver meaningful change. The letter states that the process “should recognise that just as no one party should be blamed for the current challenges, nor can a genuinely long term solution be owned only by one party.”

The open letter calls for the cross-party process to be:

  • Inclusive: established by the government with meaningful cross-party engagement
  • Open: listening to the public and professionals who use and work in these services every day
  • Urgent: ensuring the cross-party process gets underway without delay.

Professor Julienne Meyer CBE, Professor of Nursing Care for Older People, said:

“We all need to wake up to the fact that the health and social care system is in crisis and the needs of frail older people are not being adequately addressed.  The population in the UK is rapidly ageing and the situation can only get worse. Sadly, the public only seem to take notice, when things personally affect them.  Usually this is when it is too late for them to do anything about it.  We are all going to get old, so if we don’t take action now, we will pay the cost later. Despite calls we have heard very little from successive governments on how we can fix the current system and deliver the increased funding which is needed. We urgently need the Prime Minister to begin cross-party process to find a long-term solution to end the current crisis in health and social care funding.”

Norman Lamb MP, a former Minister at the Department for Health and the Liberal Democrat spokesperson on health and social care said:

“The health and social care system in England is facing unprecedented challenges. Failing to find a solution to this crisis puts some of the most vulnerable people at risk – frail and elderly people in need of care services, disabled people who need support and people with long-term illnesses.

“Building a sustainable health and care system that can provide the kind of high-quality care people expect can’t be realised without putting aside party political point-scoring.

“That is why I’m supporting this call by Independent Age and a coalition of organisations across the health and care sector and I’m launching a cross-party group of MPs that will campaign specifically for agreement on health and social care funding.”

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.