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Think tank calls for royal commission to look at long-term future of NHS

A proposed royal commission would consider a range of issues facing the health service in an attempt to safeguard its future.

Conservative peer Lord Saatchi has called for a royal commission to look at how to secure the long-term future of the NHS.

In a paper published by think tank the Centre for Policy Studies, Saatchi, and co-author Dominic Nutt, called for such a commission to look at a range of issues facing the NHS, including the ageing population, the use of health data and the extent to which the private sector should be involved in healthcare.

Saatchi, who ran the advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi with his brother before being made a peer, said: “The wonderful dream of the NHS is turning into a recurring winter nightmare — and leaving it alone is a recipe for long-term catastrophe. A royal commission can cut through the Gordian knot, and put the NHS on a sustainable footing for the years to come.”

The authors warn that the “status quo in the NHS cannot hold indefinitely”.

With the NHS facing another winter crisis, leading to the cancellation of tens of thousands of non-urgent operations in January 2018, Saatchi said a royal commission could safeguard the future of the health service.

“Multiple attempts at structural change illustrate the difficulty of NHS reform through traditional means. A royal commission could stand across and above party politics,” the authors said.

The paper — ‘A royal commission on the NHS: the remit’ — sets out how such a body can ensure the NHS delivers the best outcomes on a sustainable financial basis over the coming decades.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20204230

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