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Report slams NHS short-termism

5 Apr 2017

The RCN welcomes a House of Lords committee report criticising successive governments for failure to plan for the long-term future of health and social care.

Nurses looking at a patient file

Today’s report said a “culture of short-termism” had put the sustainability of the NHS under threat.

The committee said funding between health and social care had been “poorly coordinated”, and called on the Government to provide more funding and certainty for social care. The RCN argued for genuinely integrated health and social care in its evidence to the inquiry. 

RCN Chief Executive Janet Davies said: “The Government has been warned by this cross-party group to stop reaching for the sticking plasters when it comes to NHS and social care services.

"The NHS and social care are in crisis because both sections are seriously underfunded. The distinction between health and social care is arbitrary. The Government must now properly fund the care and support people need and deserve.”

The report makes several other recommendations, including setting up a new, independent Office for Health and Care Sustainability to look at health and care needs for the next 10 to 15 years, and the ringfencing of public health budgets.

Janet said: “We have long argued for an honest, open dialogue between politicians and citizens about the long term future of the NHS and social care. Short term approaches such as cuts in public health funding leave the underlying problems unresolved. ” 

The committee also called for an independent review to examine the impact of pay on the morale and retention of health and care staff.

Janet Davies said “The report explicitly blames the Government’s short-termist pay cap for low morale in the NHS and the numbers being pushed towards leaving the nursing profession. If Ministers want to keep the best nurses working in the NHS, they must fund it properly. 

Janet added: “If the Government fails to grasp the nettle and plan for the long-term, standards of care will decline and precious funds will be wasted. The RCN is ready to work with ministers to develop a world-class workforce as part of a properly funded and integrated health and care service.”

Page last updated - 15/06/2018