NHS funding challenges 'colossal', says select committee

posted on 20 July 2016, updated on 20 July 2016

The NHS cannot deliver the required services to patients and maintain standards of care within its current budget, a major report has found.

A report published today by the House of Commons select committee on health calls the funding challenge facing the health service “colossal”.  Moreover, while the committee acknowledged that spending was increasing, it warned the service is under unprecedented strain and struggling to keep pace with relentlessly rising demand.

In the Spending Review unveiled last November, the government promised an additional £8.4bn for the NHS above inflation by 2020/21. However, the report notes that unlike previous spending reviews, this figure related only to the budget of NHS England, rather than the whole of the Department of Health’s budget. This new measure leaves out, among other things, spending on public health, education and training.

If the previous definitions are used, and using 2015/16 as the base year, total health spending is set to increase by £4.5bn in real terms by 2021, rather than the £8.4bn originally mooted.  Furthermore, the report warns that the funding set out in the Spending Review will not be sufficient to support the aims of the government’s Five Year Forward View published in October 2014.

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