A cross-party group of 98 MPs, including 21 select committee chairs, have written to the prime minister urging her to establish a parliamentary commission to examine ways to increase resources for the under-pressure health and social care system.
In the letter sent on Friday and published today, the MPs said they are “seriously worried” the government’s planned green paper will focus just on the funding of social care for older people when there is an “urgent need” for a whole system approach.
It added the commission, if established, must look at a range of funding options including increased taxation, while assessing “mechanisms for spreading the cost fairly across generations and different income streams”.
Signatories include chair of the Commons health and social care committee Sarah Wollaston (Con) and Treasury committee chair Nicky Morgan (Con), as well as former Treasury permanent secretary and crossbench peer Nick Macpherson. Housing, communities and local government committee chair Clive Betts (Lab) has also signed the letter.
The letter said: “A growing number of us, from across the Commons, and more importantly the wider public, want to see a break in the political deadlock that has prevented a realistic approach to increasing resources both to address the current situation and to take a long-term view of future funding.”
It added: “It will be vital to address the wider pressures on the NHS and social care if we are to persuade the public of the need to contribute more and with fairness across the generations rather than this falling entirely on those of working age in employment.”
The letter suggests the commission should report before Easter 2019 and investigate areas such as prevention and a single budget for health and social care.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt last week set out “seven principles of reform” to be detailed in the forthcoming social care green paper.
These include a sustainable funding model which could involve different contributions from people of various ages and NHS and social care systems “operating as one”.
“There may be changes that are equitable and achievable for younger people that would not be either of those for the generation approaching retirement,” he said.