PCTs are to receive £164bn funding for 2009/10 and 2010/11, the health secretary announced this week, asserting that the NHS is on a “firm financial footing” that means it will meet the challenges of the tougher economic climate ahead.
The funding means an average increase of 5.5% over both years, continuing the government’s investment that has seen funding in the NHS treble since 1997.
The announcement means funding will rise to an average of £1,612 per person by 2010/11 compared to £426 in 1996/97. PCTs will control a greater proportion of funding, with more than 80% of the total NHS budget now allocated directly. In line with Lord Darzi’s review of the NHS, PCTs will set their own additional local targets based on evidence about local needs.
Health Secretary Alan Johnson (pictured) said: “During these tougher economic times the NHS, along with the rest of the public sector, will have to make its contribution to delivering greater efficiency.
“Good financial management over the last few years has put the NHS on a firm financial footing and we can be confident that the NHS can continue to provide the improvements and high-quality care that patients, public and staff rightly demand.”
Figures on NHS public expenditure in England obtained by the Health Committee show the NHS has generated a £2.1bn surplus.
The BMA and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) say this surplus should be reinvested in patient care rather than “clawed back by the treasury.”
Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive of the RCN, said: “We welcome the news that the health service is on a firm financial footing, but a £2.1bn surplus is £2.1bn which could have been spent on quality patient care. It is vital that the government swiftly reinvests every penny of the surplus in frontline services.”
Dr Jonathan Fielden, Chairman of the BMA’s Consultants Committee, said: “NHS staff have worked incredibly hard to drive down waiting times and mortality rates. These figures show that their efforts have also delivered financial success to the NHS.
“This money should not be clawed back by the treasury, or wasted on poor value contracts with commercial providers. It should be reinvested in NHS facilities to drive up further improvements in the quality of care.”