Thank you to those constituents who have contacted me about NHS funding.
The Government is committed to ensuring that the NHS is properly funded and NHS spending in England will increase by £10 billion in real terms by 2020/21, of which £6 billion will be delivered by the end of 2016/17. This will allow the NHS to offer 800,000 operations and treatments, as well as spend up to £2 billion more on new drugs. It will also ensure that, by 2020, everyone will be able to access GP services at evenings and weekends. This investment will support the NHS to fund its own plan for the future, the Five Year Forward View. If you would like to read this, you can do so here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/5yfv-web.pdf
In addition, in the 2017 Spring Budget, the Chancellor announced additional capital funding including £325 million for local improvement plans and £100 million to improve A&E services.
However, I do recognise that the NHS faces substantial challenges and so, to make sure that we have the best standards of care in the future, we need an updated system which prioritises GP access, cancer care and mental health treatment.
Therefore, in each of 44 local areas, commissioners, providers and local authorities have come together to create Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) detailing how services can be improved. As you may be aware, Leicestershire and Rutland’s STP, has now been published. Better Care Together are currently welcoming feedback and, if you would like to share your views, contact details can be found here: http://www.bettercareleicester.nhs.uk/
With regards to concerns about knee and hip replacements, the Government has made clear that blanket restrictions on treatment are unacceptable. Treatment decisions should always be made by doctors based on a patient's individual clinical needs.
If there is evidence of rationing care, NHS England will check if the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is breaching its statutory responsibility to provide services that meet the needs of the local population. If the CCG is in breach, NHS England has powers to intervene.
Through the reforms it has implemented, the Government has put decisions about health in the hands of local doctors who know best about the needs of their local area. Therefore, it is only right that they review services to ensure they are providing the best possible sustainable care for the benefit of patients.
Clinical guidelines published by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence represent best practice and NHS organisations are expected to take them fully into account as they design services for their local populations and to work towards full implementation over time.
The Department of Health is clear that people should be able to access surgery where required. However, ultimately, it is for independent CCGs, with the benefit of their local knowledge and medical expertise, to decide how they can best serve the needs of their area.
If you have specific examples of local residents not being able to access treatments, please do let me know and I will raise this directly with local health organisations.