Responding to the final report from the Times Health Commission, Nuffield Trust Chief Executive Thea Stein said:
“In an election year the final report from the Times Health Commission should provide plenty of food for thought. The breadth of the report illustrates that across health and care services we need innovative and bold action. The Commission puts a lot of stock in role of new technology to bring about improvement, but serious questions remain about how we fund and properly invest in the talented people we need to provide these vital services to patients and the public.
“The Commission is right to point to the need to act on workforce concerns, and we are pleased that the Commission, and public polling, has backed the sensible and realistic proposal to gradually write off the student debt of health care professionals, put forward by the Nuffield Trust last September. The government’s plan to increase clinical training places are ambitious, but without a realistic plan to keep people within the workforce, the benefits will not be felt as hoped. We continue to argue that writing off the debt is affordable, credible and the benefits will be felt immediately.
“The failure to implement limited proposed reforms to social care funding is the latest delay to taking steps to pull the care sector back from the brink. The proposals set out by the Commission propose a new system based on principles of sustainable funding, a consistent and clear offer, stable provision of services and a strong and valued workforce. The Commission also proposes much needed ideas to improve the perception of social care careers by encouraging medical students to spend some time during training in these care settings. The funding model suggested still requires politicians to step up and make the tax and funding decisions needed and sadly this remains the biggest barrier to any progress.
“While many of these ideas are of individual merit, political leaders will remain faced with the difficult question of how to bring the changes needed together while health and care services and their workforce remain under severe pressure. That inevitably includes how to fund the change and accepting the need for long-term investment rather than expecting quick fixes.”
Notes to editors
- The Nuffield Trust is an independent health think tank. We aim to improve the quality of health care in the UK by providing evidence-based research and policy analysis and informing and generating debate www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk
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