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Budget 2014: Healthcare leaders incensed by lack of NHS investment

by Lalah-Simone Springer
19 March 2014

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Healthcare leaders have slammed the Chancellor George Osborne for failing to address NHS funding shortfalls in the budget, which was released today. 

Osborne’s government spending plan revealed that the health budget is projected to “grow in real terms” until 2015/16, from £105.6 billion in 2013/14 to £110.4 billion in 2015/16. 

George Osborne (pictured) told MPs: “The forecasts I’ve presented show: growth up; jobs up; and the deficit down.

“With the help of the British people we’re turning our country around. We’re building a resilient economy.

But Dr Mark Porter, chair of the British Medical Association (BMA) council said although the government claims the NHS budget is protected “in reality it’s suffered £20 billion of cuts, billions of which have come from a sustained attack on staff pay”. 

He said: “If growth forecast are rising it’s even more shameful that the government won’t even agree to a 1% [pay] uplift, as recommended by an independent pay review body, for all front-line NHS staff. 

“If, as the Chancellor has said, growth is higher than expected then the government needs to consider additional funding for the NHS. Without the investment needed to meet rising patient demand and put the NHS on a sustainable financial footing the government need to face up to the reality that patient care, and indeed the very future of the NHS, will be at risk.”

And Dr Maureen Baker, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners agreed that the budget was “disappointing”. 

She said: “The Chancellor’s budget today is yet another blow for patients and for general practice. 

“With greater investment in general practice we could provide more appointments, a wider range of services and improved continuity of care, as well as providing even greater value for money to the NHS.

“If the Government is serious about alleviating pressures on hospitals and providing more care in the community, it must act now and urgently put plans in place to increase investment in general practice to 11% of the NHS budget by 2017.”