Wanless tells MPs of concerns over costs

Sir Derek Wanless has criticised the government for producing the health and social care white paper without a clear understanding of its costs, despite its “ambitious rhetoric”.

Wanless told an inquiry by MPs that ministers relied on outsiders to forecast long-term service costs when it was a job for Whitehall.

For instance, Wanless said that when he was commissioned in 2001 to produce a report into long-term health demand, he was told by chancellor Gordon Brown that he should also cost the previous year’s NHS Plan.

He told the all-party parliamentary groups on social care and primary care, who are hosting the inquiry: “Now the white paper is the same. The problem for government is if it produces large ambitious rhetoric then there will be a bill to pay.”

Wanless, who published a King’s Fund-sponsored report into social care funding this year (Call for free minimum level of care
), also criticised ministers for imposing different regimes on health and social care while at the same time calling on the two sectors to work together more effectively.

The two all-party groups will now produce a report on implementing the white paper, based on four inquiry sessions and written evidence.

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