The future financial sustainability of health and social care
22 September 2021
On 6 July 2021 the Health and Care Bill (the bill), was given its first reading in Parliament and is now making its way through the various stages in the House of Commons and House of Lords. Once the bill is enacted, it will bring into effect some of the proposals set out in the white paper Working together to improve health and social care for all.
But does the new vision of the NHS produce a sustainable health service and what does it mean for social care? Do the plans address the long-term financial challenges of rising demand, addressing health inequalities, growing waiting lists, increasing complexity of condition and the development of new treatments?
This briefing considers whether the bill enables the change that the health and social care system needs, both in the short term as the country seeks to recover from the pandemic and in the longer term as the sector more fully addresses population health and wellbeing. It builds on a joint HFMA and CIPFA roundtable discussion held on 21 July 2021 with senior leaders from across the NHS and social care, covering a range of organisation types and geographies.
Some of the issues raised at the roundtable have subsequently been acknowledged in Build back better: our plan for health and social care
(the plan). This plan sets out intentions for healthcare and adult social care, supported by a new health and social care levy to raise £36bn over the next three years through taxation. The plan will be supplemented by a white paper due later in 2021, setting out proposals for system reform of adult social care, and a national plan will also be developed to support further integration between health and social care. Despite the publication of the plan, the messages from the roundtable remain relevant as the government develops further plans for change.
An episode of the HFMAtalk podcast featuring key points from the discussion is also available here.