This Health Select Committee inquiry is exploring the distribution of funding for health and social care across the spending review period and how to achieve service transformation set out in the Five Year Forward View at scale and pace.
As well as our own evidence, we also produced a joint submission with The King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust, both of which are available to download. Anita Charlesworth, Director of Research and Economics at the Health Foundation was invited to give evidence to the Health Select Committee inquiry on 23 February 2016.
In our submissions we recommended that the NHS needs a new approach to change if it is going to reverse the recent deterioration in productivity, make £22bn of efficiency savings and transform the delivery of care for the long term. To achieve these improvements our response argued that the NHS needs:
- A clear policy framework – including a realistic tariff, a clear accountability framework and multi-year budgets.
- Financial and practical support to help realise recurrent efficiency savings and transform the delivery of care.
- An effective public health strategy and a high performing, sustainable social care system.
- A Transformation Fund of £1.5–2.1bn a year between now and 2020/21, as set out in our joint report with The King’s Fund, and in the short-term a one-off, time-limited transfer from the Department of Health’s capital budget to its resource budget.
On the integration of health and social care, we explained that, while welcome, the new powers to raise council tax by up to 2% and additional money through the Better Care Fund will not be enough to close the social care funding gap. We estimate this gap will be somewhere between £2.8bn and £3.5bn by the end of the parliament. In this scenario our view is that it is unlikely that the current range and quality of social care services can be maintained.
In our own submission we stressed that there is generally insufficient information available to assess the quality of mental health services outside of psychological therapies for common mental health problems. While some waiting times standards are being introduced, there are currently no firm plans for standards across the majority of mental health services. Our view is that while singling out a few services for standards is a step forward, it does not address the disparity of priority between mental health and physical health in general.
Following our initial submission to the Health Select Committee we updated our productivity figures based on new research published by the Centre for Health Economics, which are contained in the briefing on acute hospital productivity below.