NHS ‘needs solid investment’ says Dr Dame Jennifer Dixon

The NHS needs solid investment and less short-term churn in the policies being proposed for it, the chief executive of the Health Foundation think tank has warned.

Dr Dame Jennifer Dixon criticised the emphasis placed on new policies and argued “we should just get on with patient care”.

She was speaking as she received her damehood from the Princess Royal for her services to the NHS and public health at Windsor Castle.

Investitures at Windsor Castle
Dr Dame Jennifer Dixon is made a Dame Commander of the British Empire by the Princess Royal at Windsor Castle (Yui Mok/AP)

In the same month, she co-authored a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak that said the Government would have a choice between reforming the health service “or continuing with short-termism and managed decline”.

Asked what suggestions she would give to improve the NHS, Dame Jennifer told the PA news agency: “One is stable, increasing investment, and the other is reduce the policy churn that’s affecting and distracting and shaping it, when actually we should just get on with patient care.

“(It needs) solid investment, not a rollercoaster, but solid investment that it needs to cope with the demand in future and stable, long-term policy making, not short-term chop and change based on political expediency.”

Dame Jennifer said she and Princess Anne mainly discussed the NHS when she received her damehood, which she described as “a very personal experience”.

She said: “I mentioned to her how it was very challenging at the moment and how it needed protection and that’s why I do the work I do, which is all about policy and the future of the NHS, and she was very interested in that.

“We had a back-and-forth about challenges on healthcare systems not just here but in Europe and around the globe.”

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