I made the following speech about the funding of health and social care during the debate on the personal tax and benefits review report.
Sir, I just wish to focus briefly on recommendation 17 and more generally on the comments made about healthcare in this report.
Throughout this report it states that the costs of healthcare will rise. All Members will be aware of the statement made by the HSSD Minister on Tuesday setting out cost pressures for this year – some of which are one-off and others recurring.
The current Board is looking at truly transformational changes to our health and social care model that focuses on patients and the need to do things differently to enable people to live independent lives for as long as possible. This includes increased focus on social and community services and the use of telehealth and telecare.
However, whilst people are staying fitter for longer, and the idea of old is changing, it is clear that with an aging population, the demands on those services will rise.
With this in mind it is interestingly to read the results of the consultation in 2013 set out in the Appendices, where 45% of respondents stated that they would not accept an increase in taxation to fund all the rising demand for health and long term care in the future with only 35% being in favour.
And respondents were equally split on whether tax funded health and long term care should be reduced and people should pay more themselves.
So, the taxpayer is not willing to provide a blank cheque for our health and social services. Consequently, we are going to have some difficult questions to answer in the near future – what services should we provide, how do we provide them and how much are we willing to pay for them?
The benchmarking review currently being undertaken jointly between T&R and HSSD will be the starting point of this process. But at some point we, and when I say we, I mean all stakeholders on this Island, will need to have a role in deciding what shape our future health and social care model will take. But of course, we don’t know what our future model will look like now, or, more importantly in the context of this debate, how much it will cost.
Therefore, given not only the views of taxpayers regarding how much they are willing to contribute, as well as the 28% Cap you have agreed to this week, we need to have an open mind as to other alternative forms of funding to enable us to provide the health, social and community care that meet’s the public’s expectations.