Nuffield Trust: Striking absence of a plan for long-term recovery of health and social care services in the Budget

Nigel Edwards responds to the 2021 Budget delivered today.

Press release

Published: 03/03/2021

Commenting on the 2021 Budget delivered today, Nuffield Trust Chief Executive Nigel Edwards said:

"It is striking that a plan and support for the recovery of health and social care services are absent in this Budget.

“Recovery from the pandemic will take several years, not only for the economy, but for the NHS to work through waiting lists, boost capacity and adjust to the ongoing demands of Covid-19 on the health service. An increase in the NHS budget for the next financial year is likely to be needed, as well as honesty that patients are going to end up waiting longer for some time.

“As hospitals slowed down planned care to deal with the pandemic, a spiralling backlog of care will not clear itself with a hard slog ahead for NHS staff. The temporary extra funding set out in the spending review last autumn was only a start in what is required to support recovery for the NHS. The chancellor will need to go further in his pledge to give the NHS what it needs to deal with the long-term aftershock of the pandemic.

"It is disappointing that there was no lifeline for our struggling social care sector hit hard by the pandemic. A promised white paper is still yet to surface. Structural reform is now as important as reassurances on short-term funding and support, given the fragility of the provider market and the substantial challenges the sector continues to face.

"The pandemic has asked much of NHS and care staff without respite, so those workers who hoped to hear news of any meaningful pay increase in recognition of those efforts will be disappointed today.”

Notes to editors