Last week, I brought together a cross-party group of 20 MPs who, alongside 75 charities, professional bodies and trade unions, called on the Prime Minister to establish an NHS and Care Convention to deliver the long-term funding settlement the health and care system needs.
There is no denying that the NHS and social care are under unsustainable strain and that these pressures are increasing. We have seen this come to a head this winter with hundreds of urgent operations cancelled in the run up to Christmas, and a quarter of hospital trusts issuing emergency alerts in the first week of January alone.
However, as the crisis continues to deepen, the Government have repeatedly refused to act and the consequences of failing to do so could be catastrophic for patients and vulnerable elderly people in need of care.
I am in no doubt that we urgently need a fundamental review of how we fund these services, and I believe that building a sustainable health and care system that can provide high-quality care can’t be realised without putting aside party political point-scoring. The public are sick and tired of the NHS being treated like a political football. They deserve an honest discussion about the scale of the challenges facing our most treasured public services, and truly bold solutions in order to safeguard them for future generations.
By failing to find a solution to this crisis we are putting some of the most vulnerable people at risk – frail and elderly people in need of care services, disabled people who need support and people with long-term illnesses, particularly those suffering from mental ill health.
It speaks volumes that so many Members of Parliament from across the political spectrum are backing this initiative and I have urged Theresa May to recognise the gravity of the situation we are facing, and to meet with us to listen to our proposal.