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Following yesterday’s Autumn Statement by Chancellor George Osbourne, we present our thoughts on how this impacts on the health and social care sectors.
Additional resources for health are welcomed, particularly against the backdrop of wider expenditure reductions. However, the headline of £6bn extra investment in the NHS isn’t quite the straightforward good news it sounds, as:
As set out in The Health of Health Finances, CIPFA believes that the overall level of pressure in the health system was underestimated, and the ability to achieve savings overestimated leading to an overall gap greater than £8bn. For example, cost pressures include an estimated £1bn additional annual pension costs from 2016/17.
It is also possible (though not yet clear) that NHS budgets will be diverted to fund the £1.5bn increase in the Better Care Fund promised by 2021. On balance, then, it seems unlikely that the £6bn does allow significantly for frontloading to enable investments to be made up front to generate later benefits.
Further assessment is also required of: