David Cameron must be bold and hold a Commission on the future of health and social care, as the UK is facing monumental demographic challenges. And the government must build a model that is fit for purpose to meet the challenges posed by an ageing society and an underfunded care system.
That’s according to an open letter to the Prime Minister signed by 40 organisations including Independent Age, the International Longevity Centre – UK, Care England, Carers UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Anchor, Leonard Cheshire Disability and the National Council for Palliative Care.¹
Former Care Minister Norman Lamb MP (Lib Dem) has tabled a Bill², backed by two former Health Secretaries Stephen Dorrell (Con) and Alan Milburn (Lab) calling for a cross party Commission to review the future of health and social care in England.
The open letter urges the Prime Minister to:
- Make the Commission a reality
- Address the monumental demographic challenges in the UK which means nearly a quarter of the population will be over the age of 65 in just over twenty years’ time³
- Recognise there is no room for complacency and ensure we have an NHS and social care system that is fit for purpose
- Understand that if action isn’t taken it is the elderly, disabled people and their carers who will bear the brunt of inaction
Simon Bottery, Director of Policy and External Relations at Independent Age, the older people’s charity said:
“Without a robust health and care service that delivers for older people when they need it, the UK will never be truly prepared for ageing. A Commission on the future of health and social care is the vital first move towards recognising that the health and care systems cannot work in isolation – only when they work effectively together can the needs of older people be met. This is a conversation we cannot avoid if we are truly committed to ensuring older people have the quality of life they deserve. We urge the Prime Minister to back this Commission.”
David Sinclair, Director of the International Longevity Centre – UK, said:
“The UK is facing dramatic demographic change – in the next twenty years the number of people aged 85 and older will more than double to over three million. It is crucial that we are prepared for that change. We need to start talking now, honestly and openly, about what standards of health and care older people can expect now and in the future. Establishing this Commission would be an excellent step towards this and we hope the PM will listen to the calls being made today.”