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Chancellor must help NHS 'escape impossible trap', NHS Providers urges

Chancellor must help NHS 'escape impossible trap', NHS Providers urges

The chancellor should ‘seize the opportunity’ in the Budget to help the NHS escape from an ‘impossible trap’ of soaring demand and austerity, according to NHS leaders.
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The chancellor should ‘seize the opportunity’ in the Budget to help the NHS escape from an ‘impossible trap’ of soaring demand and austerity, according to NHS leaders.

NHS Providers is the latest healthcare body to give chancellor Philip Hammond a funding wish list to help the NHS cope with soaring demand ‘in the midst of an unprecedented financial squeeze’.

The membership organisation for NHS trusts said the government has a ‘clear choice between increasing NHS funding to a level that allows recovery of the key performance standards for the public, or accepting they will fall further behind under current spending plans.’

Budget an 'Important opportunity'

Chief executive Chris Hopson said the Budget on Wednesday November 22  ‘is an important opportunity to, at the beginning of this Parliament, to protect care quality for patients and service users and help the NHS break out of the downward spiral in which it is currently trapped.’

He said there was insufficient money to cope with rising demands and still meet performance targets. They are undeliverable without extra funding.

NHS Providers’ wish list includes new money to help recover NHS constitutional standards and provide extra cash to fund the likely end of pay restraint.

It also wants the Chancellor to frontload NHS funding over the next two years.

He should also ‘follow through on commitments for capital funding, focussing on backlog maintenance and funding to transform services’, it urged.

Mr Hammond should also ensure that trusts are ‘properly engaged’ in setting their delivery commitments, rather than developing an ‘impossible plan.’

Overwhelming pressure

Trusts are dealing with an ‘increasingly difficult environment’, said NHS Providers.

Its Budget submission pointed out that demand has increased much faster than the 2015 Spending Review assumed.

Challenges felt by other public services, especially social care, have exacerbated pressures in the NHS, it said.

Staff shortages and growing demand are making workplace pressures ‘intolerable’ and seven years of pay restraint has made it worse, the submission said.

It also highlighted the rising bill for urgent repairs and the need for extra money spent on infrastructure to cope with changing demands.

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