The Chairs of three House of Commons Select Committees are urging the Prime Minister to reach a cross-party agreement on the future of health and social care funding in a letter published today. The letter has been sent by Sarah Wollaston MP, Chair of the Health Committee, Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, and Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee.
Health and social care challenges
The Committee Chairs say that a "political consensus" is needed to address the "pressing social care challenges facing the country" and that it must also include the NHS. They call on the Prime Minister to invite all parties to take part in an urgent review, covering the health and social care systems.
The MPs continue: "In short, the problem is widely recognised – we now need political agreement so that a solution for the long term can be found."
The letter follows the Prime Minister's appearance before the House of Commons Liaison Committee on 20 December 2016, when she answered questions on health and social care funding.
The letter reads:
"We were encouraged by your recognition at the Liaison Committee that everyone has a part to play in finding a sustainable way of ensuring social care provision in the future. You also accepted the need for a review to find a way of funding social care sustainably for the long term.
We believe that can best be achieved if there is cross-party consensus, and therefore urge you to invite all parties to become involved in a review, which should begin as soon as possible. Given the scale of rising demand, this immense challenge will face whichever Party is in government over the coming decades."
Finding a consensus
The Committee Chairs argue that the consensus should be reached swiftly so that the agreed approach can be reflected in the next round of Government spending.
"We also feel that the ongoing separation of health and social care is creating difficulties for individuals and avoidable barriers and inefficiencies. Any review should cover the two systems", the MPs add.