Responding to the Institute for Fiscal Studies briefing on the inflation squeeze on public services, Dr Layla McCay director of policy at the NHS Confederation said:
"NHS leaders have been warning for some time that higher than expected inflation is wiping out large parts of the NHS budget. Put simply, the NHS’ budget is worth much less today than the settlement it received at the time of the government’s Spending Review in October.
“This isn’t an abstract problem as the gap in funding will either have to be made up by fewer staff being employed, longer waiting times for care or other areas of patient care being cut back. We are currently seeing very high levels of pressure in the NHS with the challenges of ever-higher levels of patient need and complexity of their conditions, a crumbling estate after a decade of underinvestment and high levels of delayed transfers of care due to the lack of social care workforce. NHS leaders are approaching winter with trepidation.
“The new Prime Minister must provide a top-up in this autumn’s Budget or any emergency Budget they hold to make up the shortfall. The NHS needs at least £3.4bn to make up for inflation during this year alone and as this briefing from the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows, a failure to compensate the Department for Health and Social Care for the impact of inflation will only heighten pressure on the NHS as we move towards a winter that we know will be particularly challenging this year.”