Despite the reports of a further £8 billion for the NHS during the next five years it actually only amounts to a £1 billion increase of funding from the last government, health minister Alistair Burt has revealed.
In an exclusive interview with The Commissioning Reviewthe minister of state for community and social care said that the new government’s £8 billion NHS funding is just £1 billion more than the last government delivered.
He said: “We delivered over £7 billion in real terms during the last parliament – and we’re pledging the £8 billion on the back of a strong economy to help the NHS fulfil its plan for the future.”
The summer Budget – announced by chancellor George Osborne earlier this month – clarified that the NHS will receive the £8 billion by 2020, without any detail on how this would be phased.
John Appleby, chief economist at the King’s Fund said “The £8 billion increase in the NHS budget the government has pledged by 2020 is welcome, but is the bare minimum needed to continue to meet patient needs and maintain standards of care. It will not pay for new staff, the upfront costs of essential changes to services or new initiatives such as the commitment to implement seven-day working across the NHS.
“The phasing of the additional NHS funding is critical. Given the scale of deficits among NHS providers and the need to invest in the new models of care outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward View, it must be front-loaded in the early years of the parliament. Additional money will also be needed for a transformation fund to support large-scale service changes and for social care,” he said.
The government has previously given the NHS £2 billion “extra funding” however £750 million of this was already Department of Health money, and critics claim that the rest was “spin” and re-shuffling funds.
In the Budget, Osborne also announced that public sector pay would be frozen at 1%, in a bid to save money. However the Nuffield Trust said this is a “false economy” as it will create low morale between NHS staff and make it even harder to fill posts.