Nuffield Trust response to the Autumn Budget 2017

Nigel Edwards responds to the NHS funding measures announced in the Autumn Budget.

Press release

Published: 22/11/2017

Commenting on the NHS funding measures announced in today’s Budget, Nuffield Trust Chief Executive Nigel Edwards said:

“The Chancellor has committed to a sizeable extra funding boost of around £2bn to the NHS next year [1]. This was the right decision and will bring respite for patients and NHS staff alike. For now at least, we have dodged the bullet.

“But as we and two other leading think tanks calculated, the figure really needed next year to get the NHS on a permanently stable footing would have been at least £4bn [2]. Today’s pledges fill about half of this[3]. The new money levels off fast: the year after next, the NHS will again face limited additional funding, and we may find ourselves staring down the barrel once again.

"Hard pressed NHS organisations will be relieved to see the Chancellor’s commitment to funding next year’s pay settlement for nurses, midwives and some other NHS staff. However, there appears to be no commitment to funding pay increases for medical staff.

“The £3.6bn in additional capital funding over the rest of this Parliament will come as a welcome relief to hospitals who have seen the list of buildings needing urgent repairs rise sharply. This follows two years of repairs and investment being put off in order to fund day-to-day services. But unless far more money is raised from selling off land than previously thought possible[4], which may not be wise, this will not match the £10bn in additional investment which the Government has accepted is needed.

“The reality is that we still need a more permanent shift in the amount of money Britain spends on health and social care if we are to give patients, now and in the future, continued access to timely care at the best international standards.”

Notes to editors

  1. The announcements in today’s budget will mean an additional £1.6bn in revenue funding for the NHS in England next year, and an additional £354m in capital spending for the NHS in England next year.
  2. Analysis by the Nuffield Trust, The Health Foundation and the King’s Fund argued that at least £4bn additional funding would be needed in 2018/19 to stop care deteriorating.
  3. Adjusting for inflation, the measures announced today will close this gap by around half of the amount we believe is needed. 
  4. Sir Robert Naylor’s review of NHS land and buildings concluded that a total of £10 billion in extra investment was needed to maintain buildings and deliver planned reforms. It implied that around £7 billion would have to come from central government – nearly double the amount announced today.
  5. Experts from the Nuffield Trust, The Health Foundation and The King’s Fund will take part in a Facebook Live discussion with the BMJ tomorrow at 11am, exploring what the Budget means for health and social care. Tune in from 11am at