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Charity launches independent commission looking at NHS funding

Health watchdog the Patients Association is launching an independent commission to look into funding the NHS and social care.

The charity's Independent Commission on funding of the NHS and Social Care aims to look at the current and future needs of the NHS and social care.

It will assess funding and ways to provide resources to run a sustainable service for patients.

The charity said it is using the principle of free treatment as its starting point and will look at how much society needs to spend as well as possible other ways of funding the service, including tax, national insurance and ring-fenced funding for services.

Chief executive Katherine Murphy said: “The crisis in the NHS is growing by the day, with no sign of resolution. Calls to the Patients Association national helpline have soared in the last six months, with patients and their families growing more anxious about errors and the poor care they have received.

“A financial deficit of nearly £3 billion for trusts in England is devastating and means that local managers and clinicians are facing a meltdown in their organisations.”

The commission aims to report “as quickly as possible” and will be announcing its terms of reference shortly.

The move follows a report by Parliament's Public Accounts Committee, which said there did not seem to be a convincing plan for closing a £22 billion deficit gap and avoiding a “black hole” in NHS finances.

Charity chairman Chris Hix said: “It is clear that substantial proportions of the additional monies announced by the Government to support the NHS are simply not being used to address existing deficits.”

The charity also launched a film highlighting the crisis faced by patients and appealing for an extra £1 million from donors to extend its phoneline, casework and support services.

The film features its president Sir Robert Francis QC, alongside comedian and former nurse Jo Brand, Dr Phil Hammond, Dame Esther Rantzen and Angela Rippon, patients and their families.

It can be viewed here.