Influential MPs say £10bn NHS investment figure is ‘incorrect’
The chair of the Health Select Committee has written to the Chancellor asking for ‘further capital resources’ for the NHS ahead of the Autumn Statement.
Following the committee’s inquiry into the state of NHS finances, Sarah Wollaston told Philip Hammond that the £10 billion figure quoted by the Government when discussing additional healthcare spending is ‘incorrect’.
Ms Wollaston said in the letter that the Department of Health’s budget will only increase by £6bn in that time as there have been £3.5bn cuts to the NHS elsewhere, such as the public health grant to local authorities, between 2014/15 and 2020/21.
The health committee chair said funding the NHS by cutting other healthcare budgets ‘puts at risk the achievement’ of NHS England’s Five Year Forward View, which looked to reshape the NHS by integrating primary and secondary care.
She added that Five Year Forward View is also at risk of failing without proper investment in NHS buildings.
She said: ‘That investment needs to be made now if the necessary longer-term saving are to be made. Yet the capital allocation for health – already declining in real terms over the spending review period – has been repeatedly raided to fund revenue overspends.’
During the inquiry, the committee heard from Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, who said that despite real-terms increases set out in the spending review, per capita NHS funding will remain the same in 2017/18 and decrease in 2018/19.
As a result, Ms Wollaston also uses the letter to ask the Government to review the NHS funding settlement for the middle years of the spending review and ‘commit to ensuring the to ensuring that the health service has the resources which it needs to meet the rising demands upon it’.
A Treasury spokesperson said: ’The Government has backed the NHS’ own plan for the future with a £10 billion real-terms increase in its annual funding by 2020/2021, helping to ease the pressures on hospitals, GPs, and mental health services. It is wrong to suggest otherwise.
’As the chief executive of NHS England said last year, the case for the NHS has been heard and actively supported.
’We have also allowed local government to increase social care spending in the years to 2020, with access to up to £3.5 billion of new support by then.’