It is great news that Government has committed huge new sums of money to the NHS, to boost services over the coming years, writes Ben Bradley, MP for Mansfield.
The new cash could rise up to an extra £600 million a week, which can make a big difference – but importantly, it will only have the impact we need if it’s used effectively.
The National Health Service increasingly faces more demand from complex long-term conditions and an elderly population that needs more care.
It is no good just ploughing all that money in to hospitals, because if we don’t deal with that rising demand then no amount of money will never be enough.
We need to spend it on keeping people out of hospital in the first place.
The Government needs to look at preventative services – prevention rather than just cure.
We should be bringing services out of hospital and focussing on community and primary care; to keep people living independently in their own homes for longer.
Pretty much everybody agrees that is a good approach, but it can only be achieved if this new money continues to work along these lines.
It needs to boost community services, primary care and GPs, adult social care services and drop-in centres.
It needs to help put in place supported housing for older people who don’t need to be in hospital, and to be used get everyone’s patient records digitised to make things more efficient and effective.
It needs to empower other services, like pharmacies, to be able to do more and to use all of the skills that are available there instead of everyone going to their doctor.
This is going to be an important discussion over the coming months as Government decides how to spend this new funding.
I wanted to make my thoughts clear to the people of Mansfield as I press Government to support us by giving us access to the care we need in our own community, not in hospital.