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Westminster Blog: Health consensus

Newbury MP Richard Benyon calls for a Parliamentary Commission to look at the future of the NHS, social care and public health

Andy Murrill

Richard Benyon


01635 886625

Westminster Blog: Health consensus

Along with around 100 other MPs from across the political spectrum, I signed an open letter to the Prime Minister last week calling for a Parliamentary Commission to look at the future of the NHS, social care and public health.

Coordinated by Sarah Wollaston, chair of the Health Select Committee, this letter has been signed by the chairs of 21 Parliamentary select committees along with senior backbenchers from all parties.

We are asking the Prime Minister to set up a cross-party commission to look at the way forward.

There is precedent for this, for example the Banking Commission that was set up in the wake of the Libor scandal which commanded the support of both front benches and drew on considerable cross-party expertise.

I know from my inbox how much health and social care matter to people and I also know that with rising demand and increasing costs we can’t just go on as we are.

A growing number agree that the most sensible way forward is to try and break the political deadlock that has prevented a realistic approach to addressing the current situation and to tackling the challenges of the future.

The 70th anniversary of the NHS seems a good time to seek a consensus.

A new commission could look at the likely scale of demand in the future; the advantages of a single budget for health and social care; the options for prevention; the net cost to the taxpayer and the options for future funding including some sort of hypothecated tax or contribution.

There is a Green Paper due out this summer but this will focus solely on the issue of funding social care for older people and there is concern that this on its own won’t make the necessary progress.

As an issue, health creates much froth and fury, but in reality there is much more agreement across politics than most people believe.

We have huge challenges to face in the coming years and so, on an issue as important as this, we need to work together to find solutions that are fit for the future.




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Article comments

  • EugeneStryker

    28/03/2018 - 11:11

    There is a near 'health consensus' among the public, 84% (according to YouGov polls) think that the NHS should be run as a not-for-profit public service. The Tories should be judged on what they do, not their manipulation of their media image. The Tories are selling the NHS off to private companies in order to funnel our taxes to their chums and party donors. The NHS is simply not safe in Tory hands.


    • NewburyLad

      28/03/2018 - 12:12

      Oddly you seem to have forgotten about the part privatisation made by Labour, or the horrendous PFI debt heaped upon the hospitals by Labour's appalling decision to use PFI. You also have forgotten that the Tories increase, in real terms, the spending on the NHS every year. Finally, you haven't twigged yet that the NHS cannot possibly survive in its current form if we continue to offer free healthcare to the whole of the world.


      • EugeneStryker

        28/03/2018 - 17:05

        In summary: 'If in doubt what about' and 'help immigrants cause all our problems'. The Tories want to spend much more on all our public services, but only when it can get siphoned off to their chums and donors rather than funding frontline services.


        • NewburyLad

          28/03/2018 - 23:11

          Or in a nutshell, Labour can't do any wrong, even when they do screw up the economy and country and sow the seeds of our country's downfall. Fingers in ears and go 'la la la'....