Mike Gapes shares views on health and social care funding

Many residents have contacted me recently regarding health and social care funding.

I share my constituents concerns about the sustained underfunding of our NHS. It is stretching the finances of NHS hospitals beyond their limits and is directly impacting on the quality of patient care.

In the 2017 Spring Budget the Chancellor announced an additional £2 billion of funding for social care to councils in England. However this is funding over three years, and the independent health charity the King's Fund has warned that the £1 billion allocated for 2017-18 is not enough to plug the existing gap in social care funding. I believe this money ought to be made available now.

The NHS is aiming to find £22 billion of efficiency savings by 2020-21 and there are concerns that increasing demand and pressure on local authority budgets is threatening the financial stability of health and social care systems.

In the Budget the health service was given £100 million to trial GP projects in emergency departments and just £325 million was allocated for Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) - despite research by the British Medical Association finding that STP areas are asking for at least £9.5 billion to make the service changes they say are needed to improve patient care.

In our own area the North East London Sustainability and Transformation plan proposes cuts of £578 million by 2021. Click here to view a speech I made about this in December 2016.

The latest NHS performance statistics reveal that almost a thousand people waited over 12 hours on trolleys in January 2017, compared to just 17 in January 2011. The number of patients waiting over four hours in A&E has also risen by 504 per cent since January 2011.

I believe the Spring Budget should have been an opportunity to genuinely place the NHS on a sustainable footing. Instead, the NHS will continue facing the biggest financial squeeze in its history and head-for-head spending is actually forecast to fall in the years to come.

I can my constituents that I will continue to press for an improved funding settlement for the NHS and social care.

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