Think tank calls for Royal Commission to help ailing NHS

The Centre for Policy Studies urges any inquiry into health services must ‘stand above party’ to outline future remit of NHS

The Centre for Policy Studies urges any inquiry into health services must ‘stand above party’ to outline future remit of NHS

Picture: iStock

An NHS blueprint outlining how to deliver the best possible health outcomes at the lowest cost must be produced, according to a new report.

The Centre for Policy Studies think tank has reiterated its desire for a royal commission to examine the health service and outline what its remit should be over the coming decades.

It argues such an inquiry must ‘stand above party’ and be led by figures from outside politics as it bids to develop a vision to keep the NHS 'healthy for decades to come'.

‘Examine funding and sustainability of NHS England’

The report, A Royal Commission on the NHS: The Remit, is co-written by Conservative peer Lord Saatchi and emerges at a time when the health service is experiencing winter pressures.

It states: ‘A Royal Commission should examine the structure, funding and sustainability of the NHS in England as a whole.

‘The aim should be to produce a blueprint that delivers the best possible health outcomes over the coming decades at the lowest cost. This menu of recommendations would be fully costed.’

The commission would need to be required to investigate issues such as the differences in outcomes between rich and poor – plus Britain and other countries – and the need to bring together social care with healthcare.

On funding, the report adds the commission should suggest ‘revenue sources beyond taxation’

‘Recurring winter nightmare’

After it acknowledged existing funding concerns, the report said the fundamental principle must be that the NHS will 'remain a public institution run for the benefit of the public but that the ever-increasing demands of the health service cannot be met from general taxation without bankrupting the state'.

It adds: ‘The commission should therefore investigate alternative, additional sources of revenue for the NHS which are affordable and sustainable without ceding control of the health service to commercial interests.’

Lord Saatchi 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.’

Further information

In other news

This is a free article for registered users

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this? You can register for free access.