Sadly missed opportunity to reverse cuts - Nuffield Trust response to Spending Round

John Appleby responds to today's Spending Round.

Press release

Published: 04/09/2019

Commenting on the 2019 Spending Round announced today, Nuffield Trust Chief Economist John Appleby said:

“Today’s Spending Round is sadly a missed opportunity to turn around years of cuts to the crucial budgets that support the NHS and the patients who depend on it.

“With a dire staffing crisis, we came together with the other health think tanks to warn that the training budget needed to rise sharply this year [1]. There is new money here, and it is welcome, but it amounts to only about a third of what we calculated was required.

“Funding for developing staff skills mid-career is rising by £150 million, which is much less than what would be needed just to get staff back to where they were in 2013/14. And the rest of the budget is hardly rising, leaving almost nothing to get the additional nursing students and GP trainees we urgently need.

“On social care, while the increase in funding next year will give some certainty, it is yet another short-term sticking plaster on a broken system. £1 billion extra for adult care is the minimum needed to prop up the system, and will not even get us back to the levels of care a few years ago. We need to see the ‘clear plan’ that Sajid Javid referred to and it must set out a vision for a fair and sustainable system that supports people of all ages and spreads catastrophic costs across society, instead of leaving the individual to face them alone.”



  1. See our report Closing the Gap with the King’s Fund and Health Foundation. This states that an increase of £690 million in Health Education England’s budget is needed in 2020/21 to enable actions to tackle the shortfall of nurses and GPs.
  2. The Spending Round sets out government spending for the financial year 2020/21 and is available on the government website:
  3. 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.
  4. For all queries or to arrange an interview, please contact Mark Dayan at (020 7462 0538) or Meilir Jones at (020 7462 0552).