Funding boost is very welcome but significant challenges remain across NHS
24 November 2015
- NHS England's budget will increase by £3.8 billion above inflation in 2016/17
- In the following years the rises will tail off and by 2020/21, NHS England's budget will stand at £119.6 billion
- That equates to a rise of £8.4 billion once inflation is taken into account
- Once the £1.8 billion extra ministers gave the NHS this year is taken into account, it means an overall commitment of £10 billion
On Wednesday 25 November the government will announce the details of its spending review and autumn statement in a combined statement to parliament. The spending review is intended to give a view of the government's spending plans for the next four years - up to the 2020 general election. The profile of the extra NHS spending is set to be £3.8bn in 2016/17, £1.5bn in 2017/18, followed by a slowing down in the rises in the next two years, before a bigger rise in 2020/21.
The government’s plan for £10 billion in extra money for the NHS will help the sector to tackle the pressures in workforce issues, an ageing population and growing health demands. The extra money represents a ‘front-loading’ of the £8.4 billion previously designated by 2021 and will be a start to make the changes necessary to implement the efficiencies required to prevent financial problems this winter, and to take the NHS towards the goal of a seven day service by 2020.
This settlement only increases NHS funding by an average of 1.75% per year over the life of this parliament. This is half the historic average annual increase in NHS funding of 3.6%
Chris Hopson, chief executive, NHS Providers, said: “The government’s commitment to £10 billion in extra money for the NHS over the lifetime of this parliament is very welcome. It is also good news that the NHS will receive more of this money in 2016/17 as the Department of Health and NHS England requested. Given the significant pressures on public expenditure and the difficult choices the government had to make in the spending review, this is a good settlement for the NHS.
“However there are still substantial challenges that the NHS must meet and that this funding must cover. These include meeting the demands of an older population, transforming NHS services, closing the public health gap, absorbing the impact of social care cuts, returning the provider sector to surplus and managing the changes to National Insurance contributions on NHS pensions.”