Dear new Prime Minister: give us some festive cheer – gift the UK a new national health and care service this Christmas
Communities and opinions across the UK are divided. Resentment is amplified in the news and on social media. It’s been a time of conflict and malice rather than the season of peace and goodwill we all hope for at this time of year.
The next prime minister will find it difficult to bring people together, and almost impossible to give neglected domestic issues the attention they badly need.
Social care reform matters
A Christmas wish list for social care doesn’t seem to have been met in the campaign. There were no specifics of funding joint and equivalent NHS and care services. Just vague promises of more consultation for the public to agree new funding but with no options offered.
Every MP, Health Secretary, Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition know what the funding options are. They know further delay risks making current difficulties even worse. But they’d rather do twelve rounds with Andrew Neil on live television than stick their neck out.
Too politically dangerous to contemplate, social care reform was kicked into the long grass at this election as it has been for the past decade.
If the new PM genuinely wants to try to give us some peace, and create some good will this Christmas they could do worse than contemplate this issue as something to bring the country together. As we have said before, if social care can be painted in a positive light there is huge potential for change that the whole country might support.
Gift the UK a new national health and care service
A festive gesture in the PM’s speech outside Downing Street could be to build on consensus and offer this positive vision for health and social care to all voters. To use the new parliamentary agenda and give MPs a chance to debate set options then agree on a fair way to fund social care and package it together with NHS services.
And the funding options are very clear, set out in parliament in June. The joint parliamentary committee report: Long-term funding of adult social care lists them all objectively.
MPs across the political divide, spent more than 2 years consulting experts and the UK public, working together and drawing up clear options and recommendations. There really is no need for further consultation.
Funding for social care reform is ‘oven-ready’ as some might say, freshly prepared this summer and ready for the new PM to ‘get on and do it!’.
The NHS is a treasured national institution. Gifting the UK a brand new national health and care service would be a wonderful present for everyone this Christmas. Using peace and goodwill to bring this about would be even better.