NHS ‘disappointed’ with limited Budget funding boost

22 Nov 17

NHS bodies have called the chancellor’s commitments to the health service – including £10bn of capital investment by 2020 – in the Budget “disappointing”.

Philip Hammond called the NHS “one of our greatest institutions” in his speech today and said the £10bn would help support England’s 44 Sustainability and Transformation Plans “which will make our NHS more resilient”.

He also pledged an additional £2.8bn of resource funding to the NHS in England, with £350m available immediately for winter pressures, £1.6bn in 2018-19 and the balance in 2019-20.

But Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said: “It is disappointing that the government has not been able to give the NHS all that it needed to deal with rising demand.”

He said the NHS was “trying to live hand to mouth” and Hammond had directed extra revenue to acute hospital performance when “the pressures across the rest of the health service – community, mental health and ambulance services – are just as great”.

The funding in the Budget was “less than the NHS needed” but Hopson conceded was “more than was expected.” The Office of Budget Responsibility had warned the NHS faced a £20bn funding gap by the end of this parliament and a recent joint-report from the Kind’s Fund, Nuffield Trust and Health Foundation said the health service needed at least £4bn over the next year.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, also said: “This is another missed opportunity and falls well short of what is needed to relieve the massive pressures facing the NHS today”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, in his response to the Budget statement, said that the chancellor’s commitments did not do enough for “under-paid, over-stressed, under-appreciated” NHS staff.

The Liberal Democrats noted on Twitter more was being spent on Brexit planning than the NHS over the next two years:

Hammond told the Commons today that the NHS was “central to this government’s vision” and reminded the government had endorsed the NHS’s Five Year Forward View in 2014.

Although, he acknowledged, even with the extra £10bn of funding “the service remains under pressure”.

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