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GPs go forth

Government announces £20bn increase to NHS funding

Prime Minister Theresa May has announced a £20bn NHS funding increase over the next five years.

This translates to a 3.4% year-on-year annual funding increase, amid reports that health secretary Jeremy Hunt had asked for a 4% rise.

Financial analysis by the Health Foundation and Institute for Fiscal Studies, published last month, suggested the NHS needed at least 3% annual increases not to deteriorate, but 4% in order to be able to put into action NHS England's ambitious transformation plans.

The announcement, which comes as the NHS is due to turn 70 years old next month, will be funded in part via a 'Brexit divident', Ms May claimed.

It also comes as Mr Hunt last week said last week that the promised long-term funding plan for the NHS must have earmarked funding for boosting primary care capacity.

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show yesterday morning, Ms May said the Government will draw up a 10-year plan for the NHS, which will include ‘more doctors, more nurses’ and ‘significantly more money going in to the NHS’.

She said that meant that 'at the end of five years, by 2023/24, there will be £20bn more in real terms being spent on the NHS'.

‘I can tell you that what I’m announcing will mean that in 2023/24 there will be about £600m a week more in cash going in to the NHS,' she said.

And she added: ‘Now of course we’ve got to fund that. That will be through the Brexit dividend.

'The fact that we’re no longer sending vast amount of money to the EU once we leave the EU and we as a country will be contributing a bit more.’

RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said the 'significant amount of money' was 'welcome confirmation' that the Government is 'committed' to the NHS.

But she added: 'It is essential that as more details of her long-term plan are announced, general practice is recognised for the vital role it plays in delivering safe, effective patient care in the community, and keeping the entire NHS sustainable.'

'The 3.4% real terms increase in investment is to be welcomed. However, it still falls short of the 4% that the Institute of Fiscal Studies recently claimed is necessary for a health service fit for the future, and which the RCGP, and other members of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, representing doctors right across medicine, has supported - so it is vital that any new investment is used wisely, and in the long-term benefits of patients and the entire NHS.'

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard warned that this 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,' she said.

BMA chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘It is refreshing that the Government has finally conceded that our health service needs extra resources, with BMA analysis showing a significant funding gap compared to other leading European countries.

‘However, we will be scrutinising the detail of this new package of funding to assess the degree to which it will make a real difference in both the short and long term to frontline patient care.’

What extra funding is the NHS receiving?

  • The NHS will receive an increase of £20.5bn a year in real terms by 2023 to 2024, an average of 3.4% per year growth over the next five years.
  • The funding will be front-loaded with increases of 3.6% in the first two years, which means £4bn extra next year in real terms, with an additional £1.25bn cash to cope with specific pension pressures.

Source: Statement to Parliament by health secretary Jeremy Hunt on 19 May

Readers' comments (20)

  • Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes

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  • I’m sorry, but it will make no difference.
    Until the working environment becomes less hostile skilled employees will continue to vote with their feet.
    Make it a safer, kinder place to work and doctors and nurses may return. But I doubt it.

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  • When will people realise that spending more money on the NHS will not solve its problems or fix it.

    Inflation adjusted NHS spending has gone up more than 10x since the 1950s and has more than doubled since 1997 and yet the NHS is in crisis like it has always been.

    What is actually needed is a radical new way of thinking about healthcare funding and spending.

    Have a listen to Kate Andrews from Institute of Economic Affairs says on how things should change:

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  • Pathological liars whose actions/inactions are destroying NHS signal otehrwise

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  • I was quite disappointed when this news broke Sunday. A bit of extra money to 'fix the NHS'so the problems it currently faces can be swept under the carpet. We all know this is not enough to properly fund the NHS and most of it will go into secondary care. I would have much rather has a proper debate on what we want from the NHS and correct funding put in place to meet those needs.

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  • AlanAlmond

    Sound bites with strings. It’s all in the implementation and there’s nothing to suggest this won’t be completely inappropriate as always.

    @ Dr Matt 11:59am, money most defiantly IS part of the equation. The health service isn’t doing what it did in the 1950s, or the late 1990s. Medicine isn’t doing what it did in 1840 either. Apart from this obvious fact the population has expanded markedly since 1950 (78 years ago) and 1997 (21years ago). Yes we need an honest open discussion about exactly what the NHS should be doing but your point as presented is simplistic. If people expect what they current demand, it costs a lot more than is currently being provided. Until the role of the NHS has been debated and thoroughly adjusted more money is exactly what is required.

    What is actually happening is a real world reduction in funding in the absence of a proper debate on what the NHS should be, that’s the wrong way round and that’s why there’s is a crisis. Theres a very real lack of money for what is being expected. Decisions about what the NHS should not be should happen BEFORE funding is reduced, not after.

    Funding has been reduced without an open honest debate. That is the lie we are living through. That is the reality.

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  • If the economists are right in that 3 % means standing still, then this is clearly not good news.

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  • doctordog.

    Make cuts, increase funding Make cuts, increase funding Make cuts, increase funding Make cuts, increase funding Make cuts, increase funding Make cuts, increase funding Make cuts, increase funding Make cuts, increase funding

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  • AlanAlmond

    We live in a democracy (supposedly) The population want the NHS to do all the things they expect it to. If that’s what they want they have to pay for it. If there is an argument that we cant afford that in today’s world then that argument needs to be aired and people have to vote for it at the ballot box. As yet the electorate has not voted for a radically reduced NHS. Until that happens the population has to accept they need to pay more for the health service they have voted for, and I suggest that’s exactly what people have voted for. What we currently have is a political lie, a dishonest weak political leadership that promises a full wide ranging health service without proper funding. This is down to the dishonesty of politicians. The NHS as it is costs, if you want it (and people do) then pay for it, if you can’t , then be honest and stop pretending you can have stuff you haven’t payed for.

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  • Vinci Ho

    The interesting mentality of the PM is :
    (1) She could not see (or refuses to see) that one important reason why NHS is in such a state , is because politicians kept politicising NHS with all kinds of bureaucracy to uphold their political agendas. So she is now willing to use the NHS once again for sustaining her ‘ Brexit is Brexit’ argument because there will be a financial reward for this money to fund future NHS
    (2) The ‘Leave’ camp survived the ‘lie’ that three hundred million odd pound could come to NHS per week after Brexit by winning the referendum. So the prime minister really thinks a ‘double jeopardy’ can be applied here by lying to people again ?
    (3) The reality is if and only if this government does rubber stamp that one way to fund this 3.4% increase per annum funding is by raising tax, NHS is here to stay for the next 30 years . Because if even the well perceived anti-NHS party has to revert to tax rise to solve this NHS conundrum, privitisation of NHS has no prospect to occur .
    So using the Brexit’s ‘magic refund’ from EU to make up this 20 billion pound funding is a political insurance.

    Watch this space....

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