A "shocking lack of long-term strategic planning in the NHS" has left the health service "in crisis", according to the findings of a new report looking at the future sustainability of the service.
The House of Lords Select Committee report released today slammed the "short-sightedness" of successive governments to plan for future generations and warned that the NHS would not be able to continue in its current form.
Committee Chairman Lord Patel stated: "The Department of Health at both the political and official level is failing to think beyond the next few years.
"There is a shocking lack of long-term strategic planning in the NHS."
The Department of Health said it was committed to maintaining a free NHS and acknowledged that meant taking decisions to ensure the sustainability of the service in future.
The report also outlined a number of "threats" which could undermine the future of the NHS and suggested a "radical" service transformation may need to be undertaken to ensure the service can be maintained.
'Threats' to the NHS
Rising obesity rates and escalation of other preventable illnesses which put a "significant burden" on the system
A growing "over-reliance" on hospitals
Added pressures as a result of a "funding crisis" in adult social care.
It was also suggested by peers that the health service should remain tax funded, and free at the point of use, but in order to do this would need to see "a shift in government priorities or increases in taxation".
Recommendations to secure future of NHS
A new campaign to highlight the obesity "epidemic" and aimed at stemming the "significant threat" it posed to the health service
Establishing a new body to oversee the long-term future of the NHS
Look into the possibility of introducing an insurance scheme to enable people to prepare for their care needs in older age
Conduct a review into long-term funding solutions for the NHS and adult social care to avoid further reductions in health care spending