Health and Social Care Budgets — [Mr Adrian Bailey in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:17 am on 14th March 2017.

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Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Labour/Co-operative, York Central 10:17 am, 14th March 2017

I congratulate my hon. Friend Meg Hillier on securing today’s debate. There must be honesty in the room. The trajectory of the funding crisis started with the Health and Social Care Act 2012, which introduced a funding formula that has failed. It also put the wrong financial drivers into the system, which has pushed us into this crisis.

I need only look to my own clinical commissioning group, which is seeking £1,150 per patient in an area of ageing demographics and increasing social deprivation. From the primary care group to the primary care trust right through to the CCG, my area has been seriously underfunded, and it is now having to pay heavily when a CCG down the road is getting over 50% more per head. That does not suggest equality across our NHS. Our CCG is now being pushed into special measures and is having to make a £50 million saving because of a governmental failure instead of trying to meet the real needs of our community. Of course, we see that reflected across the country. In addition, the STP includes a £420 million cut, and that will really affect patient outcomes.

Of course we need to agree a way forward on funding for health and social care, but public health also has to be included, because we are seeing public health funding severely cut. Public health measures and prevention are the drivers of better healthcare in future. We have seen the end of the smoking cessation programme, NHS health checks, and the ability to drive better health for future generations. The local authority will see a further £250,000 cut in that budget over the next three years and a £400,000 cut to sexual health services.

Rationing is coming into the service. Just two weeks ago, the Minister and I debated the rationing of surgery. Putting the wrong, perverse financial drivers in yet again is going to escalate costs in the medium term. We need to examine the way CCGs and trusts are handling the current financial crisis to make sure that we are not just kicking the can down the road and therefore escalating costs as we move forward.

Ensuring that we have early diagnosis in the system is also important. We have heard about waiting times for diagnoses of mental health conditions and emotional and psychological difficulties. In York, I heard from a parent who had spent four to seven years waiting for a diagnosis; support did not come forward until the diagnosis had been made. We should really be looking at functional care and supporting the family as a whole—we know that not supporting the family brings an additional cost. In any review, we need to make sure that we focus on prevention and early intervention, and its financial impact, and put the right financial drivers in the system now.