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NHS needs an extra £4bn funding in the budget, say think-tanks

The NHS is in need of a £4bn funding injection when the Government announces the autumn budget on 22 November.

This is the finding of a joint report from the King’s Fund, Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation, which warned that unless the Government finds the money, patients will have access to fewer services and experience longer waiting times and worse quality of care.

Going by projections made by the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR), the charities warned that based on current planned spending, NHS funding per person will fall by 0.3% in 2018/19 as NHS funding growth slows down to just 0.4%.

The Autumn Budget: Joint statement on health and social care report said: ‘Throughout this parliament there will be a significant and growing gap between the resources given to the NHS and the demands it faces.

‘In 2018/19 alone, we estimate that NHS spending will be at least £4bn lower than the level required, based on our analysis of historical funding growth and the OBR projections.’

It further suggested that following on from the £4bn one-off injection, the NHS would require an increase to annual spend of 4.3% in order to keep up with demographic pressures and increasing costs.

According to the report, sticking to current spending plans will trigger a funding gap of at least £20bn by 2022/23.

Health Foundation chief executive Jennifer Dixon said: ‘Without proper investment now the NHS will slip well below the standards and outcomes of health care provided by our European neighbours.’

The King’s Fund chief executive Chris Ham said: ‘Unless the government finds the money the NHS and social care need, patients, service-users and their families will suffer the consequences.’

Nuffield Trust chief executive Nigel Edwards said: ‘The problem simply isn’t going to go away with one-off bungs or bailouts.’

The news comes as NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens used a speech at the NHS Provider conference today to call on the Government to honour the Vote Leave campaign’s suggestion that Brexit would lead to £350m more a week spent on the NHS.