Prime Minister announces extra £20 billion would be spent on the NHS.

On 22nd November 2017 the Kings Fund released a detailed analysis of what the NHS required for planned healthcare spending for 2018/19 going forward and in summation the report stated that current spending would leave a £20 billion gap.

On June 17th of this year the Prime Minister announced that an extra £20 billion would be spent on the NHS. With funding coming from a combination of a Brexit dividend and new taxes.

The news when it broke signalled a huge relief especially for those working in the Healthcare system, because funds would finally be available to restore many of the suspended services. The new funds would give beleaguered staff their first real pay rise in eight years and money would be available to set in motion much needed infrastructure projects to modernise the NHS and finally drag it into the 21st century.

But as the euphoria around the announcement lifted many healthcare experts opined that the phased increases would merely allow the NHS to stand still and not fall further behind other world class healthcare systems.

Here’s what some of the experts said about the cash boost.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies explained that last November Simon Stevens the CEO of the NHS told Ministers that the NHS needed at the very minimum an extra 4% a year just to maintain services. However, £20 billion represents a budget increase of only 3.4% and when you take into consideration the severe underfunding over the last seven years £20 billion will just not cover some of the additional challenges and essential improvements that the service needs to address.

The Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) recently projected that Mr Stevens 4% was inadequate and have projected spending at 5.3% of NI over the next 50 years to fully meet healthcare demands.

Professor Anita Charlesworth the Director of the Health Foundation said that while £20 billion will stem the current decline of the NHS it will not be enough to lower waiting times, boost staff shortages, repair, improve and modernise NHS buildings.

While the demands of secondary care often looms largest a stark warning from Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard clearly spelt out that Primary care is in serious danger of collapsing. She called on the PM to address within her plans the current situation with GP Practises. “All of this”, she said, “comes as GP workload 'is escalating in both volume and complexity' and 'our workforce is actually declining'.

"As a result, GPs and our teams are working under conditions that are simply not safe for ourselves, our teams, or our patients. This is unsustainable and we call on the Prime Minister to specifically address this in the detail of her plans”

The announcement is a positive step however, everything will depend on the details of the new funding package and every spending will be asset as to both the short and long term impact on patient care.