The NHS Confederation has called for an open and honest debate on NHS finances following Wednesday’s Budget, in which the Chancellor acknowledged the financial challenges facing the NHS.
In the last Budget before the general election, George Osborne confirmed the additional £2 billion of NHS funding announced in the Autumn Statement, confirmed that funding will be added to the baseline for future years and announced an additional £1.25 billion investment in mental health services.
But the head of the NHS Confederation warned that years of “punishing price cuts” for providers are taking their toll on NHS care.
“There is a good chance the additional money in commissioners’ budgets might only just cover the increase in demand, and be insufficient to cover improvements,” the organisation's chief executive, Rob Webster, said.
The NHS Confederation has produced a slide pack with analysis of the Budget’s implications for the NHS, which members can login to access from the resources library.
He was clear that the efficiency challenge required of the service over the next five years – worth £22 billion – presents a “daunting task”, even where political parties commit to the £8 billion funding request of the Five Year Forward View.
The Confederation has also called for greater public scrutiny of political plans for the NHS. This follows a decision by MPs on the Health Select Committee last week to abandon the publication of a report into NHS finances. Without more effort to address money in the NHS, the organisation believes politicians will lose credibility with a public crying out to be engaged on the big issues affecting the health service.
With social care “on its knees” and a predicted £4.3 billion black hole in social care budgets, alongside a £30 billion hole in the NHS, “all parties need to set out plans for how they would address this as a matter of urgency,” he added.
Find out more
View the organisation’s full response and media statement.
Access the digest for analysis for the NHS.
View the Budget in full on the HM Treasury website.