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MPs find NHS funding to rise half the amount Government claimed

20 July 2016

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The Health Select Committee (HSC) has accused the Government of misleading the public about how much additional money is being given to the NHS.

In its latest report, Impact of spending review on health and social care, the committee of MPs said the Department of Health is giving the NHS “less than would appear to be the case from official pronouncements”.

Last year’s spending review announced that the health service would receive an additional £8.4 billion by 2020/21.

However, while previous spending reviews define health spending as the whole of the Department of Health’s budget, the 2015 review defines it in terms of NHS England’s budget. This excludes spending on public health, education and training.

The committee found that using the original definitions total health spending will only increase by £4.5bn by 2021.

Committee chair Dr Sarah Wollaston MP said: “Whilst the NHS has been treated favourably compared to many other departments, the increase in health funding is less than was promised if assessed by the usual definitions.”

The committee also called for the transformation side of the Sustainability and Transformation Fund to be protected to allow the ambitions of the Five Year Forward View to be realised.

Julie Wood, NHS Clinical Commissioners chief executive, said: “The Health Select Committee report published today reinforces what we are hearing from our members and reflects much of our written and oral evidence.

“The sustainability and transformation funding is being focused on the first element at the expense of the second, and while we recognise the need to stabilise provider deficits to get the sector back on a level footing, transformation is key if we are to have an NHS that delivers high-quality care for patients and is affordable within the overall resources the service has been given.

She added: “Cuts to public health care are also extremely worrying and are in direct conflict with the ambitions of the Five Year Forward View and its focus on prevention.”

The committee, however, expressed “grave doubts” that the plans set out in the Five Year Forward View can be met.

It said that, because new models of care are not being embedded fast enough or across the system, “the Five Year vision” is at risk.