NHS funding and waiting times

As I am sure you are aware, the Prime Minister recently announced the Government’s intention to provide the NHS with an additional £20.5 billion by 2023/24 as part of its Long Term Plan (LTP); this is the largest, longest funding settlement in the history of the NHS. This landmark investment to help secure the long term future of our NHS is extremely welcome, and I hope you agree it demonstrates the Government’s commitment to properly funding our NHS and public services.

The Government asked the NHS to draw up a plan to secure the NHS for the long term, focusing on cutting waste and ensuring every penny is well spent. At its heart is the notion that prevention is better than cure, marking a clear shift towards our health service promoting good health not just curing illness, while helping to place it on a sustainable footing for the long term. That’s why the biggest uplift in spending will be an extra £4.5 billion for primary medical and community health services. On top of this, the LTP commits to improving detection, with more targeted screening and Rapid Access Diagnostic Centres, so that in 10 years’ time these measures will ensure 55,000 more people survive cancer each year, and 100,000 heart attacks, strokes and dementia cases are prevented.

Mental health is also central to the LTP with an extra £2.3 billion investment announced. Improvements will have a particular focus on children and young people’s mental health, giving  an additional 345,000  children mental health support and providing access to talking therapies for more adults.

The LTP will also provide funding for a larger, better supported workforce, delivering improved training opportunities, better support and career progression, stronger leadership at all levels, and a clamp down on bullying and violence to improve retention.

To deliver on these commitments the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has asked Baroness Dido Harding to chair a rapid programme to engage with staff, employers and stakeholders to build a workforce implementation plan that puts NHS people at the heart of NHS policy and delivery. Her final recommendations will come later this year as part of the broader Implementation Plan that will be developed at all levels to make the LTP a reality.

As you may be aware I led efforts last year, following a question to the Prime Minister , to remove the annual cap on recruitment of doctors and nurses from overseas. The cap acted in a way which prevented our NHS from accessing the skilled workforce that it needs in order to provide excellent care, but was scrapped following the campaign so our NHS now has maximum access to the skilled workforce it needs. Further details are available here - https://www.heidisouthcambs.co.uk/heidi-celebrates-nhs-visa-reform-success

Over the next five years as part of the LTP, the local NHS is being given enough money to increase the amount of planned surgery year-on-year, to cut long waits, and reduce waiting lists. The ability of patients to choose where they have their treatment remains a powerful tool for delivering improved waiting times and patient experience of care. These steps come alongside measures to offer patients the choice of quick telephone or online consultations, saving travel and waiting time.

In the constituency, I am in regular contact with Addenbrooke’s and our other local hospitals, as well as the Clinical Commissioning Group and local GP practices. You may have seen the announcement at the end of last year that up to £100 million is being made available to deliver a new Children’s Hospital, which will be built on the Addenbrooke’s site. This has been talked about for a very long time and I am so pleased that these additional resources are coming to South Cambridgeshire to provide world class facilities locally for our children’s health. More information is available here - https://www.heidisouthcambs.co.uk/news/heidi-allen-mp-welcomes-ps100-million-investment-deliver-new-childrens-hospital-addenbrookes. In addition, I have been working with Addenbrooke’s and Cancer Research UK to lead efforts to secure a purpose built cancer hospital on the biomedical campus too.

In addition I will continue to fight for local improvements and funding for our hospitals. I am pleased that NHS investment has increased every year since 2010 and believe this new investment will help to secure the long term future of the NHS. Rest assured I will continue to play a full and active role in ensuring that South Cambridgeshire continues to receive its fair share of the investment.