It’s time to put health devolution under the political spotlight

By Norman Lamb | 04 February 2020

The NHS is consistently failing to meet many of its core targets, particularly maximum waiting time standards such as the four hour A&E target. The habitual response of national politicians – myself included – has been to argue for more money for the NHS. This is necessary but it has been my view for some time that this, on its own, is never going to be sufficient to ensure we have a financially sustainable health and social care system that meets the needs of a growing and ageing population. 

In fact, my experience over many years in the Department of Health, and subsequently working to advance mental health services, is that health services will always be running to keep up unless more profound action is taken to address the drivers of physical and mental ill-health such as poor housing, poor diet, poor air quality, social deprivation and unemployment. The fundamental question that needs to be answered is not how we improve health services but how do we achieve a healthier population? How do we prevent ill health in the first place? 

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