Health, social care and devolution: implementing change in the new Parliament

6 October 2015

The NHS is busier than ever before and pressure stands to increase with a growing ageing population, expected to rise by one million in the next five years. Improving the capacity of hospitals is not enough. We need to transform out of hospital care to ensure the whole health care system is ready to respond – and to ensure that patients get care in the best place for them.

I am proud that during the election campaign my party committed to supporting the NHS’ own plan for its future, the Five Year Forward View, by committing an additional £10 billion by 2020. That money will go into transforming health services that are being joined up with social care.

Our vision for out of hospital care needs the NHS and social care providers to work better together and to co-ordinate care around each patient. We are making this a reality through our £5.3 billion Better Care Fund which is joining up health and social care for the first time. It’s a question that all political parties have struggled with, and I am proud, following the progress we made in the last Parliament, that it’s Conservatives who are taking this forward. By improving care closer to home we are reducing A&E admissions and getting people out of hospital more quickly.

Our primary care system has long been the envy of the world and we want everyone to be able to access a GP, seven days a week 8am-8pm by 2020. To make this vision a reality we need a step-change in the way services have been delivered so we have pledged at least 10,000 extra primary and community care staff and £1 billion to improve primary care infrastructure over the next four years.

To make sure this transformation happens we are giving more power to local areas to make the best decisions about the people they care for. The launch of NHS England’s new care models as part of its Five Year Forward View is a pivotal moment for the NHS and from April 2016 Greater Manchester will fully control its £6 billion health and social care budget – a UK first.

Finally, by empowering more local areas to make the best decisions for them we will transform the way services are delivered and, crucially, improve the experience for patients, especially those with long term conditions. I have confidence the path we are on will do what it takes to deliver an NHS, secure in its founding values, but fit for the 21st century.

Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State for Community and Social Care, Department of Health
@AlistairBurtMP
@DHgovuk

This article was written for the Reform Annual Journal to accompany the Conservative Party Conference event “Making it happen: health, social care and devolution in the new Parliament”.

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