NHS Confederation Responds to the New Chancellor’s Statement on the Fiscal Plan

Responding to the new Chancellor’s statement on the government’s fiscal plan, Matthew Taylor chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:

“The health service is already facing enormous pressure as we head into what will be one of the most challenging winters for decades.

“Health leaders are incredibly concerned about how they will be able to continue running many important patient services while at the same time plugging gaps in funding which could stretch to £20 billion or more over the course of the next three years, although of course they will continue to do all they can to manage services as efficiently and effectively as possible while at the same time trying to meet huge rising demand from patients.

“However, if, as the new Chancellor has requested, government departments will be expected to ‘redouble’ their efforts to find public expenditure savings, and after over a decade of austerity that has left NHS organisations already having to run near skeletal services, it is very hard to see where any further cuts can be made.

“Latest calculations from the Institute for Government show that most services do not have enough funding to return to pre-pandemic levels and this includes current hospital spend which will not drive down pandemic accrued backlogs as well as insufficient investment in primary care to meet demand. This is coupled with the government’s own recent unfunded NHS staff pay rise which will also mean additional cuts to health service budgets, so the Chancellor really will need to level with the public about the impact of further cuts on the NHS.

“As our new analysis clearly shows, every pound invested in the NHS results in £4 back in wider economic activity – so as well as delivering for patients, the NHS must be seen as an essential building block for the economic growth the Prime Minister and new Chancellor want to drive over the medium and long term.

“Yet with 132,000 staff vacancies, decrepit NHS estate and waiting lists now topping 7 million people, if further cuts are on the table, we really need the government to be transparent with the public about the services they can expect from the NHS in the months and years ahead.

“As the country continues to grapple with a cost-of-living crisis, health leaders are very worried that the government’s withdrawal of the energy price cap in the Spring will leave people on a cliff edge of uncertainty as they struggle with the constant fear of food and fuel poverty prolonging the public health emergency already faced by so many.”





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