Together we can build a better health and social care system which thrives on collaboration not competition, say experts

Long term thinking and stable, consistent policies are key to improving our nation’s financial prosperity and wellbeing, say experts on The BMJ Commission on the Future of the NHS as they set out their manifesto for a healthier UK.

The BMJ Commission brings together leading experts from medicine and healthcare to identify the key challenges and priorities and make recommendations aimed at ensuring that the vision of the NHS is realised.

Their key pledges of what they would do if they were in government are:

Reaffirming a commitment to the founding principles of the NHS, including a commitment to transparency and accountability and a promise to work with staff, patients, and the public to restore trust and end the disadvantages and discrimination faced by many.

Establishing an independent Office for NHS Policy and Budgetary Responsibility to oversee delivery of NHS plans and policies with an immediate £32bn cash injection to help tackle the current NHS crisis and investment in general practice, enabling a return to continuity of care between GPs and patients.

Fully implementing a fit for purpose workforce strategy with a focus on ethical recruitment from other countries, creating the right conditions to retain health and social care staff, and improvements in respect, dignity, and working conditions, as well as adequate pay.

Tackling public health and environmental challenges so that everyone can lead healthy lives with priority given to addressing the harms of alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and junk food, ensuring sufficient welfare support, access to good quality, affordable housing, and cutting child poverty.

With the climate crisis being the biggest threat to our health, every policy will be judged on its effect on the environment, they explain. “Within the NHS, we will implement interventions to improve sustainability across infrastructure, technology, transport, food, and waste. We will be unwavering in our support of the national ambition to deliver the world’s first net zero health service.”

To address the shortage of social care staff, they also plan to restore the right of carers coming from overseas to bring their families and, in the longer term, improve the pay, training, and career structure of carers so that it becomes an attractive choice for many.

And they will restore funding to NHS dentistry so that adequate dental care is available to all, particularly children, young people, and older populations.

“Together we can build a better health and social care system which thrives on collaboration not competition,” they write. “Health is central to our nation’s financial prosperity and wellbeing, and this needs to start in the very early years of a child’s life: investing in health will improve peoples’ lives and make sound economic sense.”



Notes for editors
Opinion: A manifesto for a healthier NHS, a healthier UK doi: 10.1136/bmj.q1307 Journal: The BMJ