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Theresa May’s Speech on the NHS

Helena Brown, our Policy & Public Affairs Assistant, outlines the current postcode disparity in patient experience

Helena Brown, our Policy & Public Affairs Assistant, outlines the current postcode disparity in patient experience

We welcome Theresa May’s pledge this afternoon to properly fund the NHS. The funding was committed to mark 70 years of the NHS.

In her speech, which she delivered at the Royal Free hospital in London, she announced that there will be an additional £20bn per year by 2023.

This means that the budget will grow annually by an average of 3.4%. It is currently unclear how this funding will be distributed.

Mrs May has articulated five key priorities which she noted in her speech. These include:

  • Putting the patient at the heart of how we organise care
  • A workforce empowered to deliver the NHS of the future
  • Harnessing the power of innovation
  • A focus on prevention, not just cure
  • True parity of care between mental and physical health

Although she has not ringfenced any funding specifically for our community, we hope that this commitment to the NHS and these five key areas, will ultimately translate into better patient care and experience.

There is a forthcoming ten-year plan which we are optimistic will shed more light on the future funding of the NHS.

The Cancer Patient Experience Survey (CPES), which was last published in 2017, highlighted the shocking variation in patient experience. The report emphasised that people affected by a brain tumour continue to receive poorer levels of care overall. Patient experience also varies considerably across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and needs to be radically improved in all nations.

We are adamant that your diagnosis or postcode should not dictate the quality of care and treatments available to you.

In her speech, the Prime Minister stressed the crucial work of clinical nurse specialists (CNS) noting how valuable their advice had been when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. A key priority outlined by Mrs May is “a workforce empowered to deliver the NHS of the future”.

We hope that this acknowledgement will result in a commitment to ensuring greater access to CNS. We strongly believe that people affected by a brain tumour should be offered a CNS and currently, only around 53% of people with a low grade tumour have access to a CNS, while this figure is around 75% for people with a high grade tumour.

That is why we are funding nursing positions in the NHS for people with a low grade brain tumour and have worked with NHS England to explore new models of care which make the best uses of the existing CNS workforce.

We urge the NHS to commit more funding to appointing more CNS for our community across the UK.

Mrs May emphasised that: “We cannot continue to put a sticking plaster on the NHS budget each year.” It is essential that the funding is used to improve patient care.

We will do everything we can to ensure that our community is properly supported and that we put an end to inconsistency in patient experience across the NHS.

We are currently working with the Government on the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission to ensure that brain tumours remain a priority for the Government and variation in care is reduced.

Read the Prime Minister’s speech in full