In September 2021, the government announced an additional £5.4bn for the NHS in the second half of this financial year, including £478m for discharge to assess.
Alongside this, the government announced an additional £15.8bn revenue funding for the NHS in England, and £5.4bn for social care over the next three years.
While this additional investment is welcome, NHS Providers and NHS Confederation have jointly raised concerns about whether it will be sufficient to meet the continuing costs of COVID-19 and recover care backlogs in all services. We estimate a shortfall of over £3bn in 2022/231.
There is still a lack of clarity about how much of the additional funding will flow to community health services.
While the NHS revenue settlement has already been announced, the comprehensive spending review (CSR) on 27 October will be pivotal in confirming a multi-year capital settlement for the NHS, the public health grant, local authority budgets and Health Education England’s (HEE’s) budget.
This submission therefore reiterates a series of existing funding priorities for community providers which seem unlikely to have been fully met by the recent revenue settlement, as well as setting out what the community sector needs from the CSR process:
- Permanent central funding from government to support the discharge to assess model.
- Adequate resources to clear community backlogs and meet increased demand.
- Sufficient funding for long-term COVID-19 related costs.
- A mechanism to ensure that the NHS Long Term Plan (LTP) investment in community health services reaches providers.
- An increase in the overall HEE budget and investment in the community workforce.
- Urgent investment in public health, reversing years of under-investment.
- Funded reform to place the social care system on a sustainable footing.
- Increased capital investment in community health services, including improved access to capital and revenue funding for digital transformation in the community.