This week, the Prime Minister announced our long-term plan for the NHS, helping to secure our NHS for the future.
Under the new funding plan the NHS funding will grow by 3.4% in real terms each year. By 2023 the NHS England budget will have increased by £20.5 billion in real terms compared with today. At the last General Election Labour committed to just a 2.2% increase, much lower than what the Prime Minister is providing.
We are only able to make this funding offer because we have managed the public finances responsibly. It is because of our balanced approach: to reduce debt as a share of GDP, to keep taxes as low as possible – and to invest in our public services. So we will stick to our fiscal rules and continue to ensure debt falls, while prioritising our NHS within public spending.
Across the nation, taxpayers will have to contribute a bit more in a fair and balanced way to support the NHS we all use. We will listen to views about how we do this and the Chancellor will set out the detail in due course.
In return for this increase in funding, we will agree with the NHS later this year a ten-year plan for its future. This plan must ensure every penny is well spent, tackling waste, reducing bureaucracy, and eliminating unacceptable variation, with savings invested back into patient care. It must also make better use of capital investment to modernise buildings and invest in technology to drive productivity – whilst enjoying the support of NHS staff across the country.
The Prime Minister laid out her five priorities for the NHS:
- Putting the patient at the heart of how we organise care. We need to break down the barriers between providers so that staff and patients are empowered to work together across organisations - so that we have a health and social care system that addresses your physical, mental and social care needs together, not as separate problems to be dealt with in isolation.
- Empowering our workforce to deliver the NHS of the future. We will need a workforce that is empowered to deliver the best possible outcomes, flexible enough to adapt to new models of care and valued for their commitment to our NHS.
- Harnessing the power of innovation. We have the opportunity to lead the world in the use of data and technology to prevent illness, not just treat it; to diagnose conditions before symptoms occur, and to deliver personalised treatment informed not just by general understanding of disease but by your own data including your genetic make-up.
- Focusing on prevention, not just cure. If we want not just to cope with an ageing population, but thrive too, we will need a renewed focus on prevention.
- Building true parity of care between mental and physical health. We will not have succeeded in building the NHS of the future unless we recognise the importance of looking after our mental health, just as much as our physical health, and we put the resources in to mental healthcare to make that a reality.
The NHS is one of Britain's greatest assets and something that can make us all proud which is why I'm so please to support the Prime Minister in this strong commitment to the future of our countries healthcare.