Ferelith Gaze, Head of Pubic Affairs at NHS Providers, argues more investment is needed in the NHS for years to come.
There are roughly 1.3 million people aged 85 and over within England – this number is set to double over the next 20 years as we all begin to live longer. But will we be able to enjoy this longer period of life in good health?
A post-election priority for the Government, states Ferelith, should be to meet growing demand for services in the future. England’s demographic trends show the impact of changing times, and pose many questions including:
- How should the health and care system respond to this demographic shift?
- Should the NHS manage an increasing population of older people in declining health?
- Or – should the NHS work to increase the number of years in good health?
Politicians need to be realistic – the NHS have been asked to transform services, keep up with demand and meet Government commitments, all while facing low funding. If the country is to continue the way it is headed, staff will become unaffordable, and hospitals run down. Politicians should acknowledge the NHS is funded to meet demand or what is asked of the service is moulded to fit resources.
Health and social care also need assistance to work hand in hand, effectively and efficiently for all. Integration should be managed locally, but politicians need to give their support when changes are made to bring communities improved care. Social care funding needs addressing, as England are now facing a long-term social care challenge.
The NHS is at the fore-front of world-class care – we must invest in the NHS as an investment in the UK.