Today, Prostate Cancer UK and 68 other charities signed a joint letter to the Prime Minister, urging the government to use the Spring Budget to give the NHS the money it needs to end the current crisis. But they should also re-commit to a five-year plan that will overhaul how health and care services are delivered in the UK, says our Change Delivery Manager, Martin Abrams.

15 Feb 2017

Given the almost daily warnings that the NHS is on the verge of collapse, a stern letter may not sound like the most effective response.

But the one we sent to the Prime Minister today was no ordinary letter. Signed by 68 other charities, the joint letter called for urgent extra funding and a ‘renewed settlement’ for the NHS and social care in the government’s Spring Budget next month.

It was coordinated by National Voices, a diverse coalition of large and small health and care charities that have come together to send a clear and united message that the Prime Minister and the government must take action to ensure the NHS and social care have the funding and resources they need.

But we know that money alone isn’t going to solve the current pressure on health and care services, which – as the letter states –  are ‘not acceptable or tenable’. That’s why we also want the government to reaffirm its backing and commitment to the NHS’s Five Year Forward View.

The Spring Budget gives the government a chance to begin resolving this crisis. It’s vital this opportunity is grasped with both hands

What is this View? Published just over two years ago, it’s the most comprehensive attempt to redesign health and care to meet the needs of people in the 21st century, and sets out a new vision of a service that works with the community and puts the needs of the individual first.

We think this five-year plan is vital in the fight against prostate cancer by setting out how the NHS will improve cancer outcomes, which includes swifter diagnosis and better prevention, treatment, care and aftercare for all cancers.

But the current funding situation means this whole crucial transformation is at risk, and we are already seeing the five-year plan being threatened by the need to focus on hospital deficits.

That’s why the Spring Budget on Wednesday 8 March is so important: it gives the Prime Minister and the government a chance to begin resolving this crisis and get the plan back on track. It’s vital this opportunity is grasped with both hands.

And, as the letter makes clear, we and the charity sector want to pool our expertise and work together with the government and the wider health sector on this. Put simply, our message to the Prime Minister is: “We’re here, we’re ready and we’re able to help.”

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