Are we ready for a grown-up election debate on the NHS and social care?
Reported in The Guardian (21 April): In an age when experts are no longer de rigeur, it may be asking too much for the political debate about the future of health and social care to be nuanced, balanced and informed. Were it to be so, it would surely be the first time we had achieved such dizzy heights in the bare knuckled fight of an election campaign.
So what would be good to hear? First, an acknowledgement that all the main parties are culpable for severe underfunding of social care – arguably both at national and local level. The additional sums announced in the budget are welcome but not sufficient. The government has promised fundamental reform but again all parties, including the Conservatives, have made such promises before and then failed to deliver.
Second, a commitment to health and social care funding linked to GDP over the next parliament. We can only afford what the country can afford so it is right to link it to the size and success of the economy, but we can do much better than the current 10% well below the levels seen in the comparable economies of France and Germany.