Three experts from the Nuffield Trust health think-tank (Chief Executive Nigel Edwards, Chief Economist Prof John Appleby, and Director of Policy Candace Imison) gave evidence to the Committee, which has today published the report of its inquiry.
Commenting on the report’s conclusions on the funding of the NHS, Chief Economist Prof John Appleby said:
It is crucial, as the Committee recognises, that the health service can plan for steady funding increases that are in line with what experts recommend, rather than the current regime of feast and famine.John Appleby, Chief Economist and Director of Research, Nuffield Trust
“I am pleased that the Committee has backed my proposal for an independent organisation to make recommendations to Parliament on future funding and demand for healthcare, as the Office for Budget Responsibility currently does for the Treasury on public spending. It is crucial, as the Committee recognises, that the health service can plan for steady funding increases that are in line with what experts recommend, rather than the current regime of feast and famine. I hope that the Committee’s conclusion that the current system of funding from general taxation is by far the most fair and efficient one will lay this question to rest once and for all” (see note 1).
Commenting on the Committee’s findings on the importance of a properly resourced, planned and skilled NHS workforce (see note 2), Director of Policy and workforce expert Candace Imison said:
Whereas the financial difficulties can largely be solved by increased funding, the loss of the experienced, highly trained staff who are currently leaving the health service in droves cannot be easily reversed.Candace Imison, Director of Policy, Nuffield Trust
“For some time now we have been warning that the staffing crisis facing the NHS is as serious as its funding problems. But whereas the financial difficulties can largely be solved by increased funding, the loss of the experienced, highly trained staff who are currently leaving the health service in droves cannot be easily reversed. Shortages of staff have been exacerbated by years of bad planning, and are set to be worsened by the UK’s imminent departure from the European Union. The Committee is right too to recognise that the long-term pay restraint imposed on the NHS workforce is having a serious impact on the health service’s ability to retain staff – we need to bear in mind that a large part of the efficiency savings so far produced by the NHS have come from this continued pay freeze for staff”.
Notes to editors
- Relevant section of Prof Appleby’s oral evidence to the Committee can be found here
- The Committee concludes that ‘the biggest internal threat to the sustainability of the NHS’ is ‘the failure to implement a comprehensive long-term strategy to secure the appropriately skilled, well-trained and committed workforce that the health and care system will need”.