General Election 2019: What the NHS needs to build a 21st century health service

11 November 2019


NHS Providers has launched its programme of activity for the 2019 general election by calling on political parties to ensure the NHS has what it needs to build a 21st century health service.

The future government must ensure the NHS has people with the right skills and in the right places equipped with the modern facilities and technologies that they need to deliver high-quality, safe care.

In the last year, England’s NHS foundation trusts and trusts managed 22 million A&E attendances and 123 million outpatient appointments. But demand for NHS services continues to grow at a rapid rate.

 

The future government must ensure the NHS has people with the right skills and in the right places equipped with the modern facilities and technologies that they need to deliver high quality, safe care.

Saffron Cordery    Deputy Chief Executive

 


As the population ages, demand for health and social care services is increasing and becoming more complex. The pressure to meet this changing demand comes while the NHS is grappling with over 100,000 vacancies and the challenge of recruiting and retaining the staff it needs. 

In terms of funding, years of underinvestment in capital has allowed a backlog of £6bn worth of repairs and maintenance to NHS buildings and equipment to build up. Cuts to services outside the NHS budget, such as public health and prevention services and social care, means that people aren’t always cared for in the right place and at the right time, affecting their experiences and outcomes. For the NHS, this translates into a clear impact on demand, performance, and quality of care.

If we are to build an NHS for the 21st century, trusts and foundation trusts need to see:

 

As the population ages, demand for health and social care services is increasing and becoming more complex. The pressure to meet this changing demand comes while the NHS is grappling with over 100,000 vacancies and the challenge of recruiting and retaining the staff it needs.

   

 

The deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery said:

"The NHS is going to be front and centre of this election campaign. We need to ensure that the debate is open, frank and honest about the challenges facing the health service and what it needs to meet the growing demands asked of it. It does not help the frontline when the NHS is used as a political weapon.

"The biggest constraint facing the health service is our workforce shortages. We need credible answers on how to close a workforce vacancy gap of more than 100,000 and to ensure any new immigration system enables the NHS and social care services to recruit and retain the overseas staff on whom we will have to rely for the foreseeable future.

"Meanwhile the backlog maintenance bill across the NHS has climbed to record levels. While recent government announcements for new hospitals and investment in cancer equipment have been very welcome, they are only a start of what is required to rebuild our health services and make them fit for the 21st century. We need to see a multi-year capital settlement that brings the NHS' capital budget in line with comparable economies.

"Finally, we cannot delay in addressing the crisis in adult social care, or we risk devaluing every pound of investment in the NHS. There is broad consensus that we need to increase social care funding and create a fair and accessible system which protects the most vulnerable. But we need an honest debate about how we pay for and deliver this."

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