We must be realistic about what NHS funding will buy
19 December 2019
- Today the Queen’s speech outlined plans for growing the NHS workforce, with a new visa for qualified doctors, nurses and health professionals to have fast track entry to the UK.
- It was also mentioned that hospital car parking charges are to be removed for those in greatest need.
- There was a reiteration of the manifesto commitment to seek cross-party consensus on proposals for long term reform of social care.
- There was also a commitment to reform the Mental Health Act.
Responding to the Queen’s speech, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery said:
“The prime minister has made it clear that the NHS will be the top priority for this government.
“While the commitment in the Queen’s speech to deliver a 3.4% annual real-terms increase in NHS funding is very welcome, there is a mismatch between the rhetoric and the reality on the ground.
“While a return to these levels of funding increases is closer to the historic average, the scale of the task ahead of us is significant. Demand is growing rapidly and we have severe workforce shortages. This capacity mismatch which has opened up means despite staff working flat out year-round performance against key standards continues to slip further.
“We need to be realistic about what this funding will buy and what the public should expect. This investment will maintain standards at their current level, but the service needs additional real investment to meet the needs of the future and deliver the improvements we all want to see.
We need to be realistic about what this funding will buy and what the public should expect. This investment will maintain standards at their current level, but the service needs additional real investment to meet the needs of the future and deliver the improvements we all want to see.Deputy Chief Executive
“If, as we fear , expectations exceed reality, we risk creating a damaging blame game which sets the NHS and its staff up to fail and lets patients and the public down.
“We once again welcome the proposed targeted changes to the law which are aimed at enabling the integration of services while avoiding a substantial restructure of the NHS, and the continued commitment to a Health Service Safety Investigations Bill, a significant step forward in helping trusts to improve patient safety.
“But we need to see more detail on the future immigration system proposed after Brexit. It is vital that immigration policy supports the ability of the NHS and social care to recruit and retain skilled staff that it depends on.
“Now, with a substantial working majority, we need the government to be bold in its ambitions to tackle the issues impacting the NHS. This means turning today’s words into action to find a sustainable solution to the social care crisis, reversing public health cuts, and empowering people to look after their health and keep people living well for longer at home and out of hospitals. That would be the real evidence of the government’s real commitment to health and care.”