Chief Executive Chris Ham of the King’s Fund has set out five key areas where political parties can demonstrate their commitment to health and social care ahead of June’s general election. 

Sustainable funding is the first key area, where it is predicted that if plans are left unchanged funding will sit at £4.5 million versus the £10 million claimed by the current government. Ham adds that credible commitments must be made to sustain current standards of care and fund any new promises. 

Other key areas include how care is provided, with emphasis on providing care in the community and in people’s homes. Giving priority to population health – eg. Housing, employment, diet and exercise. 

And finally working with people and communities – valuing the support of third sector organisations and supporting NHS staff in their training, recruitment and staff retention. 

Chris Ham, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund, said: “There is mounting evidence of the huge pressures facing health and social care, which suggests that the NHS will be one of the key battlegrounds in the election campaign. 

“Our five tests offer a framework for assessing the credibility of the parties’ commitments on health and social care. They also highlight the importance of choices the next government makes on tax and public spending, and its willingness to lead a grown-up debate about the balance between public and private responsibilities. 

Meeting these challenges will be difficult for all parties at a time when the public finances are under pressure and Brexit creates uncertainty about the economy.

“The true test of the manifestos will be their willingness to confront these issues and engage the public in a grown-up conversation about the balance between public and private responsibilities in a society in which the needs of all are valued and met fairly.”