Wiltshire Publications

News From Westminster- Andrew Murrison MP

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In March the Prime Minister hinted that the Government would soon launch a new programme for addressing future funding for our National Health Service, which will be fleshed out in the coming weeks.

I have not been given any advanced sight of the plans under consideration but I am happy to see that the long-term sustainability of our National Health Service as a major priority, especially in this 70th anniversary year.

Whilst respecting the need for prudence with the public purse, I have long argued for increased healthcare spending, especially considering our projected budget savings following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. Given the impact that tax increases often have on the competitiveness of an economy, I would naturally prefer to see more of our EU membership savings earmarked for healthcare investment. However, I do see merit in the potential of a hypothecated tax for the NHS which, rather than simply increasing general taxation, would earmark a small percentage of current tax receipts directly for our NHS.

It must be understood that increased funding is just part of the solution. We must also ensure the NHS has the best possible management. That is why I established the all-Party parliamentary group on clinical leadership and management, which aims to increase the number of clinicians in managerial roles within the NHS.

I also continue to believe that there will be pressure to improve outcomes by centralising secondary hospital care in larger units. That will open up an opportunity for community hospitals. The closure of Westbury will be seen as very shortsighted.