Commenting on the Chancellor’s announcements in the Spending Review today, Nigel Edwards, Chief Executive of the Nuffield Trust said:
Yesterday’s announcement by the Chancellor of £3.8 billion of extra funding for the Health Service sounded generous, but it is now clear this may have come at the cost of services that the NHS depends on. Behind yesterday’s glowing headlines, there are some big unanswered questions.
Nigel Edwards, Chief Executive of the Nuffield Trust
“Despite today’s extra investment in social care, care services in England remain on the brink of collapse - increasing funding for the NHS while leaving local councils short of cash is like painting the front door while the house is on fire.
“The Chancellor says he’s addressed the problems of social care by allowing local authorities to increase their council tax bills by up to 2%. But even by his own admission, that will only raise £2 billion a year by the end of the Parliament, and only if EVERY local authority does it – whereas we already know that the funding gap for social care will be £2.9 billion a year by then (see note 1).
“That gap in funding will mean more frail elderly people marooned in hospital beds despite being medically fit to go home, more people with mental health problems unable to live in the community, and more ill health for the some of the most vulnerable people in society – all problems that will inevitably rebound on the Health Service. That will make it even more difficult for the NHS to achieve the targets it is supposed to meet.
“The problem of patients unable to leave hospital without more support from their local council is fast becoming the biggest issue NHS Trusts are facing – last week Monitor singled this out as a significant contributor to the £1.6bn of debts Trusts now have”.
On the announcement of a “25% cut in the Whitehall budget of the Department of Health” (p9 of statement), Nigel Edwards said:
“Contrary to the impression given that this is simply a cut in the DH’s administrative spending, the Treasury’s figures show it actually represents a £1.5 billion cut in a single year to budgets that include training for doctors and nurses, and important preventive measures like stop smoking services and programmes to combat obesity (see note 2).
“Yesterday’s announcement by the Chancellor of £3.8 billion of extra funding for the Health Service sounded generous, but it is now clear this may have come at the cost of services that the NHS depends on. Behind yesterday’s glowing headlines, there are some big unanswered questions”.
Notes to editors
- Source: Local Government Association
- As the Nuffield Trust warned in August , the Treasury has defined the “NHS” for the purposes of its real terms protection ringfence as spending managed by NHS England, which in 2015-16 accounts for just over £101bn of the Department of Health’s total budget of £116.4bn. This means that £1.5bn of the extra £5.5bn NHS England will receive next financial year will be funded through cuts to the wider DH budget. That wider budget is made up of the following:
- Capital spending to fund new NHS facilities and IT
- Public health spending by central and local government
- Clinical and medical training, including the part of the salaries of junior doctors
- Regulatory bodies and inspectorates
- Central and local NHS administration