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Budget 2017: Chancellor's winter cash boost 'very late' for maximum impact

Budget 2017: Chancellor's winter cash boost 'very late' for maximum impact

Extra money announced in the Budget to help managers as brace themselves for winter pressures has come 'too late' for maximum impact, NHS leaders warned.
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 Extra money announced in the Budget to help managers brace themselves for winter pressures has come 'too late' for maximum impact, NHS leaders have warned.

Philip Hammond promised an extra £350m ‘immediately to allow trusts to plan for this winter.’

It’s part of a package of £2.8bn for day to day spending until 2020.

Mr Hammond will release £1.6bn next year and the remainder in 2019/20.

It’s aimed at getting the NHS back on track to meet performance targets.

However it is less than the £4 bn NHS England’s chief executive Simon Stevens said the service needs.

The NHS will also get £2.6bn ‘to support  Sustainability and Transformation Plans  and their investment in frontline services , investing in an NHS fit for  the future,’ said Mr Hammond.

He is also pumping £700m to help turnaround trusts and deal with urgent maintenance and £200m to spend on  efficiency programmes cutting energy bills and time-saving tehnology.

He also said he would fund pay awards for nurses, midwives and paramedics-  if unions agree a deal to improve productivity.

NHS Providers said that the extra winter cash is welcome, but a little late for managers to use it ‘with maximum impact this winter.’

Chief executive Chris Hopson said: ‘It is disappointing that the government has not been able to give the NHS all it needed to deal with rising demand, fully recover performance targets, consistently maintain high quality patient care and meet the NHS’s capital requirements.’

He warned the NHS is ‘still trying to live hand to mouth without a sustainable long term financial and capital settlement to the health and care sector.’

NHS employers chief executive Danny Mortimer said: ‘The Chancellor’s commitment to fund the additional pay bill is welcome.

‘Meanwhile, NHS organisations are working hard to address staff concerns and better retain vital skills. But they also need national support. 

‘Increasing training numbers and improving access to affordable housing are welcome recent interventions to help employers recruit and retain staff, but investment is also needed in training budgets as well as reform of migration policy and greater flexibility in apprenticeships.’

Other changes include giving new universal credit claimants a month’s worth of money with five days, which could have an impact on health and stress levels.

However Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn criticised the Chancellor’s NHS funding.

He said the service has lost GPs, community and mental health nurses and added  the money ‘falls well short of the £6bn Labour would have delivered from our June manifesto.’

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