'Tough decisions' on savings and spending cuts must not harm NHS and social care

17 October 2022

In response to comments by the chancellor of the exchequer in a televised address today, the interim chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, said:

"Trust leaders understand the need for economic confidence and stability.

"As a former health and social care secretary and select committee chair Jeremy Hunt understands better than most the pressures on NHS staff and budgets in the face of ever-growing demand.

"He has been a vocal advocate for a badly needed long-term workforce plan for the NHS, without which severe staff shortages will continue piling pressure on already overstretched services and affect the quality of patient care.

"Budgets are already cut to the bone with a pressing shortage of capital investment to ensure buildings are safe and effective. Trust leaders have to make tough choices every day due to soaring inflation and high energy bills. Nationally NHS budgets are also under pressure due to inflation, the cost of NHS staff pay awards not fully funded by the government and less financial support to cope with the impact of COVID-19.

"Efficiency targets in the NHS are already very stretching. Having to hunt for yet more savings will be extremely hard to do and can only impact on patient care. It's vital that capital budgets aren't raided to fund day-to-day spending.

"Trust leaders will also watch anxiously the government's review of support for public services in 2023/24 with rising energy prices. Increased gas and electricity costs threatened to be a tipping point for trusts."

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