Labour and Conservative united in Parliament last week to oppose plans for a Commission to examine the future of the NHS and Social Care. The Commission was proposed by Norman Lamb who has previously warned of an impending funding crisis faced by the NHS.
Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk and the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Health led a House of Commons debate on his proposal for the creation of an independent, non-partisan commission to examine the future of the NHS and social care services.
The proposed commission has been backed by more than 50 organisations including the NHS Confederation and Royal College of Surgeons. Despite attracting cross-party support, however, the idea was ultimately dismissed by Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, Heidi Alexander, and the Minister of State for Community and Social Care, Alistair Burt.
While Ms Alexander cited “fundamental differences” between the political parties, the Government argued that a commission would not be necessary in light of NHS England’s five year plan for rescuing the health service.
Speaking after the debate, Norman Lamb said: “Even though impressive Members on both sides spoke in support, it is extremely disappointing to watch the Labour leadership and the Government squander this historic opportunity.
“We know that the NHS and social care system is facing an existential crisis. My real fear is that elderly people, in particular, will increasingly not get the care they need. The reality is that all parties must join together in a spirit of collaboration, working through their differences to reach an agreement on the best way to tackle these challenges.
“Despite this, Labour appears to be more concerned with scoring political points, while the Government’s current strategy rests on the ability to deliver savings on a scale that is simply not achievable. I will continue to campaign for this commission with others of a like mind.”