NHS and Social Care Commission

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:59 pm on 28th January 2016.

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Photo of Sarah Wollaston Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee 12:59 pm, 28th January 2016

I agree with my right hon. Friend. However, in parallel with the process of looking at long-term funding arrangements and settlements, we must get on—here and now—with changes that are needed in the short term. I want to touch on a few such areas.

The first area is prevention. I absolutely agree with the right hon. Member for North Norfolk that it is bad practice to cut money from public health, simply because of the challenges we face. If we look at the NHS budget, we can see that 70% of it goes on helping those living with long-term conditions. We know that many future problems are brewing here and now.

Let us just take childhood obesity, which we discussed at length last week. A quarter of the most disadvantaged children now leave primary school not just overweight, but actually obese. Given the problems that that is saving up, in the personal cost to those children and the wider costs to the NHS—nearly 10% of the entire NHS budget already goes towards treating type 2 diabetes—how can we not be grasping that nettle as a matter of urgent prevention to save money for the whole system?