Funding announced will only partially fill NHS financial black hole

Sally Gainsbury responds to the announcement of £800 million in funding made available to local NHS systems.

Press release

Published: 08/11/2023

Responding to the announcement of £800 million in funding made available to local NHS systems, Nuffield Trust Senior Policy Analyst Sally Gainsbury said:

“The funding announced today will only partially fill the financial black hole that the NHS faced at the start of the year and which has deepened as a result of industrial action.

“We estimate that around £450 million of this funding was not already available to NHS England before today, with the majority of any “new” funding coming from other health budgets at the Department of Health and Social Care. That will have knock-on effects on local NHS organisations who were relying on DHSC funding for infrastructure, IT projects and other national initiatives.

“With such little new money made available from the Treasury, despite the asks of NHS leaders, the NHS has now been forced to scale back ambitions to bring down record waiting lists to help get patients seen quicker, such as paying staff overtime to run extra clinics and outsourcing work to the independent sector. This will ultimately mean some people will wait longer for their operations and treatment than the NHS had hoped and planned at the start of the financial year.

"To be very clear, this extra new money will not pay for additional patient services, it will merely paper over some of the holes in this year’s budget. As a result, resources will be spread even more thinly and NHS organisations will have to focus on emergency care and the most urgent of cases. While this short-term sticking plaster will help health systems get closer to balancing their books this year, that will come at the cost of the NHS not being able to meet its own, and the public’s, expectations of it. Once again we will see some ill-judged cuts in capital and technology budgets which will further undermine potential for productivity improvements in the future.”


Notes to editors

  1. The Nuffield Trust is an independent health think tank. We aim to improve the quality of health care in the UK by providing evidence-based research and policy analysis and informing and generating debate.
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