At the heart of Britain's NHS and Social Care crisis is an increase in demand for services from our ageing population. The right housing models can play a critical part in preventing a cycle of demand from starting and allow older people to return to their own homes after treatment, thus freeing up NHS and social care resources.
American author P J O'Rourke once said: "if the NHS is brilliant, wonderful and a national treasure, why is every [political] party promising to fix it?" The point that O'Rourke misses is that the National Health Service is deeply ingrained into our culture, and does not (always) take kindly to criticism and some political leaders have even threatened to 'weaponize' it (whatever that means.
We need to talk about not only the NHS, but also the language we use about the NHS. Criticising the NHS is too often conflated with criticising the staff who do a marvellous job for the NHS. They are doing fantastic things, but it's often in spite of rather than because of the structure in which they work. Criticising the NHS is not to criticise the doctor who saved your mother's life or the value of modern medicine.
When the practical and economic feasibility of a routine 7-day NHS has been roundly debunked by senior doctors, service providers and analyists, it is only natural to ask how this is going to happen. Maybe, we ought to be thinking a little more naturally ourselves, and prepare for our complementary secretary of state for health to give us a very complementary 7-day routine NHS.
It's a fact that the EU referendum result has divided Britain and caused political chaos and economic turmoil. As a result, the impact of the UK's vote to leave is most likely to have a major impact for the health and social care, especially as the sector is already facing huge operational and financial pressures.
When talking about the health service, it is often more prudent to use the language of theology rather than policy. Phrases such as "hands off our NHS" and "the NHS saved my life" are common place and demonstrate the reverence the British people have for it, and the personal ownership many of us feel we have over it. Nigel Lawson's adage that it is the closest thing we have to a national religion still rings true.
Taking control of Manchester's health budget will not be easy. Funding will be a big headache - as the region faces a £2billion black hole in the finances over the next five years. Finding the necessary efficiency savings will be no mean feat given that many of the easy savings have already been made over recent years.
Often, at times of crisis, a decision is made to put an old person into a care home. But at a time when the NHS faces mismatch between resources and demand, we must look further afield for a solution to cure Britain's current care crisis - perhaps technology is what will allow us to do more with less.
Since being appointed as a shadow health minister in September I have been keen to spend some time on the front line to see what life is really like for hard-pressed NHS staff. So I recently spent a night shadowing an emergency medicine consultant at the Countess of Chester hospital... Until you are actually there it is difficult to comprehend just how relentless the job is. Staff were working at full tilt and the nature of the work was such that they could never catch up with the demand - even when 'it's not that bad for a Saturday night'.
In an increasingly capitalist world it is easy to give in to temptation, however, that is neither the ethos nor the mandate of a socialist NHS. Before forcing through change let us talk yet perhaps more importantly; let us listen. Only then we can devise a strategy on how to deliver the future, together.
At the minute many NHS staff are compromising their own health so they can provide basic patient care. Your workforce is exhausted and demoralised, and being told to make £22billion of efficiency savings in a setting already pared to the bone. I see these staff as my patients. When the stress gets too much, they come to me. Usually exhausted, often in tears. I feel like shaking you Mr Cameron. You absolute hypocrite. How dare you?