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Jeremy Hunt promises Tories will pay 'whatever is needed' for the NHS

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that a Conservative Government would provide ‘whatever’ needed to carry out the changes recommended in NHS England’s Five Year Forward View.

The promise, which appeared to sign a blank cheque to NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens, comes as the Labour Party has ramped up its election battle by blaming the Coalition Government’s record on the NHS since 2010.

The Forward View document predicted at least an £8bn shortfall in the NHS budget by 2020 but, speaking today on the BBC’s The World at One programme, Mr Hunt said the Tories would ‘find that’ or more, if needed.

He said: ‘What we’ve said, and I want to be very clear about this, is that we will back the NHS’s own plan in full. So we agree with the NHS when they say that if they can make £22bn of efficiency savings, the NHS would need £8bn.

‘But they also said in that plan, very clearly, that they might need less than £8bn if they can make more efficiency savings, or they might need more than £8bn if they can’t make those efficiency savings.

‘We will give whatever they need. It might be more than £8bn, it might be less, but the point is you can only have this discussion if you have a strong and growing economy.’

On the same radio show, Mr Hunt said the key changes he wanted to see by 2020 were in GP practices.

He said: ‘If I’m Health Secretary on 8 May, over the next five years I would like to see a transformation in the services we offer outside hospitals, particularly through GP surgeries. More GPs, easier appointments, more proactive care of people with the most complex needs.

‘If you have a mum or a granddad who has very complex needs, perhaps they’re in the early stages of dementia or a diabetic, what you need is GPs who have the time and the ability to look after them in a proactive way. That is the real change that we want to see.’

NHS England’s plan, released in October last year, said the next five years would see it spend a ‘much higher’ propotion of spend on GP services, and ‘vanguard’ sites are already being piloted with GP practices expanding services to offer ‘step-down’ beds, homecare, counselling, dentistry and district nursing.

Mr Hunt’s comments come as a Health Foundation report released today, suggesting that the NHS will overspend by £626m in 2014/15 alone. It cited cost pressures, including a 27% increase in spending on temporary staff, as the key driver behind the problem.

Earlier, a row broke out over Labour Party claims that the Coalition Government had made it harder to see a GP by making the extended hours DES less profitable to practices leading to lower take up.

Readers' comments (24)

  • Well Bedfordshire CCG needs £40m just to stand still....wont hold my breath......

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  • Mr Hunt, I have the ability to look after these patients, what I don't have is "time". And I haven't read anything that says you are going to give me that "time".

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  • ‘If you have a mum or a granddad who has very complex needs, perhaps they’re in the early stages of dementia or a diabetic, what you need is GPs who have the time and the ability to look after them in a proactive way. That is the real change that we want to see'

    This pretty much sums up your (lack of) understanding of primary care

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  • the nature of a "promise" is that it is immutable to changes in circumstances.

    Hence this is clearly not a promise.

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  • Those pigs are flying high in the sky

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  • I would love to see a Tory-UKIP coalition.Now that would be interesting

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  • But he will not give it to primary care,he intends to put us out of business now we are on the ropes does anyone believe this evil man will not deliver the knockout blow,I refer you to the last five years pay awards,if he had any decency he would retrospectively adjust renumeration to the intended pay uplifts he intended,no chance

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  • Vinci Ho

    How to determine the characters of a man?
    The Master said:
    1. See what a man is doing.

    2. Check where and how did he get here.

    3.Examine when he will 'rest'(with regard to his ambitions)

    4.How can a man conceal his character? How can a man conceal his character?
    Chapter 10
    Analects
    Confucius

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  • Vinci Ho

    And John Locke said:
    I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.

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  • What the NHS needs is for the tories to s*d off! Kindly oblige Mr Hunt et al?!

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