Top Surgeon and Former Health Minister Lord Darzi to Launch Independent Review into the NHS and Social Care

Ahead of the 70th anniversary of the NHS, world renown surgeon Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham OM KBE PC will set out next stage of reform for the health and care service, supported by IPPR, the progressive policy think tank.

Top Surgeon and Former Health Minister Lord Darzi to Launch Independent Review into the NHS and Social Care

The health and care system faces huge challenges. The re-emergence of rationing, waiting times on the rise, and deteriorating financial performance means that change is becoming urgent as well as important.

While there is a strong cross-party consensus on retaining a health service that is based on need, not ability to pay, as well on the need for social care reform, there are enormous questions about how the health and care system can succeed in an age of rising demand and disruptive new technology.

The NHS has endured the most austere decade in its history and funding for social care has declined almost every year since the start of the decade. The government’s announcement of £1.6bn addition funding for next year is welcome but going forward the service needs more than a sticking plaster. Nothing short of a long term sustainable funding settlement alongside an effective reform plan will ensure high quality care for all.

The NHS and social care system needs to change because the nature of the disease burden has changed, there are breakthrough diagnostics, drugs and treatments, and new technology means we can work smarter, not just harder. High quality care is a constantly moving target: to stand still is to fall back. That’s why Lord Darzi and the IPPR are setting out to revive reform.

This landmark review will take on the big questions for the health and care service:

  • How do we make sure every patient gets high quality care when they need it?
  • How do deliver on the potential of integration between health and social care?
  • How will we keep up with advances in technology, therapies and treatments?
  • How can we deliver parity of esteem for patients receiving support for mental health problems and join up health and care around patients?
  • How can we tap the potential of the NHS as an asset for our economy by implementing the life sciences industrial strategy?
  • How can we make the system work effectively and how can we sustainably fund the health and care system in the long term?

The Lord Darzi Review will conclude on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the NHS and the 10th anniversary since the publication of the landmark report, High Quality Care for All.

Lord Ara Darzi, Chair of the Review, said:

“Next year, we will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the NHS. The health and care system deserves a secure future that gives us confidence that it will celebrate its centenary in a little more than thirty years from now. It is time to renew the vision for the 21st century.

“The review seeks to tackle these tough questions that today’s politics is struggling to address, and create a vision for the health and care system that recognises that it is an asset for our economy.

“Scientific breakthroughs mean novel diagnostics, drugs and treatments; and because technology means we have the opportunity to work differently and better. We are positive and hopeful about what could be achieved with the right plan and investment.

“We have the depth of clinical talent to achieve it and an extraordinary repository of scientific expertise which should help us push the boundaries of what is technologically and scientifically possible.”

Tom Kibasi, Director of IPPR and Deputy Chair of the Review, said:

“It has never been more important to discuss the future of the NHS and how we care for people in our society. IPPR are therefore proud and excited to be working with one of the most prominent doctors in the world to seek answers to the big questions facing our NHS.”

Lord David Prior, Former Conservative Minister of State for Health, said:

“Lord Darzi’s Review comes at a really crucial time for the NHS. New thinking on how we ensure patients consistently get high quality care without breaking the bank, is desperately needed. The convergence of the new digital and biological technologies of the fourth industrial revolution offer a once in a generation opportunity to drive transformational change in how we deliver health and social care. This will require a profound change in culture as well as structure. I look forward to seeing Lord Darzi’s  conclusions and working with him to ensure the NHS fit for the future”

Norman Lamb, Former Liberal Democrat Minister of State for Health, said:

“I strongly support Lord Darzi in this initiative. It will undoubtedly be a really valuable and important piece of work. I continue to hope that the government will embrace our call for a formal cross-party process to engage the public in a debate about the future of health and care to win support for a long term settlement. In the meantime, Lord Darzi and IPPR can help fill this gap by providing bold policy solutions to the pressing challenges facing our health and care system”

Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, said:

“We are pleased to see this important contribution to the future of our healthcare system in the NHS’s 70th year. There is now an urgent need to stimulate a national debate on the future of health and care services. After nine years of the greatest constraints on funding since the NHS was created, society must decide what is needed to provide high quality services and whether we are willing to pay for them. The NHS Confederation will be working closely to co-ordinate our own work in this area to complement the IPPR commission.”

Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said:

“The NHS has suffered from seven years of tight budgets despite growing demands on it. This is not sustainable. This will be an important report and I look forward to reading its conclusions as we seek to put the NHS on a financially sustainable footing for the long term.”

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:

“A huge amount of momentum has built up over the past 12 months around the need to reform and properly fund adult social care and it was a dominant theme during the general election. This shows how much the public values the care that is provided for older and disabled people, and recognises that it is a vital and separate service in its own right.

“With a green paper expected next summer, we are hopeful that this will pave the way to delivering a long-term sustainable funding solution for adult social care.

“This review can play a role ahead of that, and should call for social care to be placed on an equal footing to the NHS, rather than as an adjunct. We need care and health operating as one, locally-led, focused on prevention and person-centred.

“It is social care that keeps people out of hospital in the first place and takes the pressure off the NHS.”


Source: IPPR