Responding to the Chancellor's Autumn Statement, Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said:
“This Autumn Statement has been a missed opportunity from the Chancellor to get the NHS back on track following the huge impact that strikes and other cost pressures have had on patient care and already-tight budgets.
“Independent experts have said that the costs so far stand at £1.7bn yet only £800m has been allocated and mainly by raiding budgets elsewhere, which will cause long-term harm to the NHS’s ability to transform its services.
“The government has been clear in its messaging that this mini budget was to be a plan to drive economic growth yet in downgrading the NHS as a priority, it has failed to recognise the important connection between the health of the nation and its prosperity.
"The NHS has been hit with this blow as waiting lists for treatment continue to rise, there is increasing long-term sickness in the community and frontline services are bracing for a very challenging winter period.
“Also, with £10.2bn worth of outstanding repairs, this figuratively provides the service with only masking tape and papier mâché to patch it up with, and a much-needed capital strategy has been kicked into the long grass.
“Health leaders share the Chancellor’s commitment to a productive public sector and a productivity target of 0.5% annually is attainable but stripping back long-term funding pots to support that transformation is counterproductive. Capital investment is key to unlocking productivity, so it is frustrating that this ambition has not been matched with resource.
“Also, while increasing the National Minimum Wage is a move to be welcomed, it will have an impact on the NHS, particularly in community services and primary care, which will need to see additional funding to cover these costs.”
We are the membership organisation that brings together, supports and speaks for the whole healthcare system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The members we represent employ 1.5 million staff, care for more than 1 million patients a day and control £150 billion of public expenditure. We promote collaboration and partnership working as the key to improving population health, delivering high-quality care and reducing health inequalities.