The Patients Association will today announce a proposal to establish an Independent Commission on Funding of the NHS and Social Care. The news comes alongside the launch of a new film by The Patients Association which highlights the present crisis faced by patients.
The film calls for a new Million Pound Fund to finance The Patients Association’s vital helpline activities to support patients. The video features families who have been helped by the charity, alongside Patients Association President, Sir Robert Francis QC (author of the report on the Mid Staffordshire Hospital); and Vice-Presidents Dame Esther Rantzen DBE; Angela Rippon OBE; Dr Phil Hammond; and comedienne Jo Brand. The Patients Association film can be viewed online at www.patients-association.com from 5pm today.
The Commission plans to examine the current and future needs of the NHS and Social Care in all aspects, and will assess funding and mechanisms for providing the resources required for a sustainable service for patients. It will start from the principle of free treatment at the point of care and will consider how much we need to spend as a society, as well as possible sources of additional funding including tax, national insurance contributions and ring-fenced funding.
The Patients Association Chief Executive, Katherine Murphy, said:
“The crisis in the NHS is growing by the day, with no sign of resolution. Calls to the Patients Association’s national helpline have soared in the last 6 months, with patients and their families growing more anxious about errors and the poor care they have received. A financial deficit of nearly £3 billion for Trusts in England is devastating and means that local managers and clinicians are facing a meltdown in their organisations”
In the wake of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC)’s latest report and other recent damning findings on the state of the NHS, Chris Hix, Chair of the Patients Association, said:
“It is clear that substantial proportions of the additional monies announced by the Government to support the NHS are simply being used to address existing deficits. That is why we are proposing the establishment of our new Independent Commission on funding of the NHS and Social Care. It would report as quickly as possible and we will be looking to announce its membership and terms of reference in due course.”
In addition to the establishment of a Commission, as a national charity the Patients Association is calling for an extra £1 million from donors to fund the expansion of its helpline, casework and support services to meet the exploding demand from patients and their families.
Katherine Murphy continued:
“The evidence of poor treatment, mistakes, and inadequate communication grows by the day. Our overall helpline activity has increased significantly over the last 6 months, as has the complexity of the cases that we see. The consequences of massive pressure on GPs, hospital doctors and nurses, and on the complaints system are highlighted in our new film.
“In addition, the current NHS complaints system is not fit for purpose and the national bodies tasked with receiving the most serious evidence of such complaints are collapsing. The need for the Patients Association to help families, carers and the public has never been clearer.”