NAO report a stark reminder of the fragile financial state of the NHS - Nuffield Trust

Sally Gainsbury responds to new NAO report on NHS financial management and sustainability.

Press release

Published: 05/02/2020

Responding to the National Audit Office report on NHS financial management and sustainability, Nuffield Trust Senior Policy Analyst Sally Gainsbury said:

“The Government will shortly enshrine in law cash increases for the NHS England budget every year until 2024. But today’s report raises serious questions about whether this new money will make a difference in the context of yawning staffing gaps, hospital trusts being forced to rely on one-off savings, short-term loans or emergency funds to balance the books, and the lack of a long-term financial settlement for social care.

“What’s more, this report makes clear the folly of missing out crucial areas of health spending like medical training, capital spending and public health from the plans to invest billions in the NHS. As the NAO implies, without clarity and a sustainable plan for these areas, the NHS is unlikely to succeed in delivering its own Long Term Plan.

“The NAO’s report is a stark reminder of the very fragile financial state of the NHS. Government now needs to heed these warnings and put in place concrete plans to address staff shortages, invest in buildings and equipment and support social care and public health.”

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.
  2. For all queries or to arrange an interview, please contact Meilir Jones or Leonora Merry at / or on 020 7462 0555.