Extra funding for NHS welcome but missed opportunity to fix workforce challenges

27 October 2021

Responding to announcements made by the chancellor in the multi-year spending review and budget today, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery said:

"NHS trust leaders will welcome the confirmed extra £5.9bn capital spending on NHS buildings, equipment and digital technology over the next three years. NHS Providers has campaigned hard for a multi-year increase in these budgets and we are pleased our campaign has borne fruit.

"However there are still significant questions on whether the NHS will be able to meet the government's manifesto pledge to upgrade 70 hospitals and build 40 new ones given the lack of clear, long term, funding commitments beyond 2024/25. And we await confirmation of the money that will be available to providers to tackle the £9.2bn maintenance backlog that has built up.

Trust leaders will be disappointed and frustrated that there is no confirmed multi-year, increase in Health Education England's NHS education and training budget.

Saffron Cordery    Deputy Chief Executive

"Trust leaders will be disappointed and frustrated that there is no confirmed multi-year, increase in Health Education England's NHS education and training budget. Workforce shortages and the resulting unsustainable workload on existing NHS staff are currently the health service's biggest problem. They can only be tackled with a robust long term workforce plan and increased longer term investment in workforce expansion, education and training, none of which are currently in place.

"NHS leaders know that NHS services and local government care and public health services are totally interdependent – they cannot succeed without each other. Trust leaders will therefore be concerned about the impact of the long term financial squeeze on both these areas, and local government funding more generally. While additional resources for councils announced today are welcome, the lack of specific social care investment means there is still a long way to go to create the sustainable social care system we all need.

NHS leaders recognise and welcome the significant extra revenue and capital funding the government has now provided to the service.

Saffron Cordery    Deputy Chief Executive

"NHS leaders recognise and welcome the significant extra revenue and capital funding the government has now provided to the service. They are deeply committed to delivering better care and improving health outcomes for this new investment.

"But they are also clear that the NHS faces an enormous challenge to maintain quality of care given the longest and deepest financial squeeze in NHS history between 2010 and 2019, the NHS' resulting inability to grow its capacity to meet growing demand, persistent workforce shortages and the fragility of social care. These long standing fault lines have been significantly exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19 and they cannot be addressed overnight."

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