NHS and Social Care Commission

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:21 pm on 28th January 2016.

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Photo of Helen Whately Helen Whately Conservative, Faversham and Mid Kent 3:21 pm, 28th January 2016

I agree with the right hon. Lady that it is difficult in our election cycle to think further ahead, but it is not impossible. During the last Parliament, the NHS came up with the “Five Year Forward View”, which at the time was supported by all major political parties. With that experience behind us, it is possible to go ahead and come up with further long-term views. As I said, a debate, rather than aiming for a consensus, would be helpful. That is exactly the sort of thing that think-tanks, researchers and all sorts of organisations can, are and should look into.

I want to highlight the fact that this issue is political. The right hon. Member for North Norfolk mentioned an organisation called NHS Survival. I saw on its website that lots of clinicians are involved with it. It is fabulous that clinicians are involved in this discussion about the future of the NHS. That said, the founder of the organisation was also, according to its website, the person who initiated a petition calling on the Secretary of State for Health to resign. The right hon. Gentleman called on NHS Survival as an example of a body lobbying for a commission, but it is clearly very political. There is no way of taking the politics out of this.