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Only three per cent of leaders say Budget cash will make 'big improvement' to care

Only three per cent of leaders say Budget cash will make 'big improvement' to care

Just three per cent of healthcare leaders think the Budget will have a big impact on their ability to provide good care.
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Just three per cent of healthcare leaders think the Budget will have a big impact on their ability to provide good care.

The handful of leaders told the NHS Confederation they thought the handout from Philip Hammond would  help them make a ‘big improvement’ to care. Meanwhile 47% predicted the Chancellor’s extra funding announced last week, would make ‘no improvement’  in their organisations.

 Half thought it would make a ‘small improvement’.

Less funding than hoped for

The findings come as a crunch NHS England board meeting discussed how to cope with the £28bn funding over the next three years announced in the Budget– much less than the £4bn it asked for.

It said it will be impossible to meet and fund waiting times, set by the NHS constitution, unless  there are cuts elsewhere.

The board warned: ‘With its 2018/19 budget the NHS will likely not be able to do everything being expected of it. This will therefore require realism and some difficult judgements about priorities.’

CCGs had ‘produced an unprecedented absolute reduction in the number of elective GP referrals to hospital this year’. They also had to fund £500m more care this year than they were allowed to budget for after £560m underspend was held back, said NHSE.

Parts of the country covered by vanguards have between one third and two thirds fewer emergency hospital admissions.

NHSE said it will use ACS and STPs to allocate funding.

Yesterday’s board meeting heard ‘it would be unacceptable’ if mental health, cancer services and primary care were used as the ‘balancing item’ and cuts will have to come elsewhere.

It warned that staff routinely go the extra mile and ‘it would be unfair to set unattainable goals which staff would then be criticised for not meeting.’

This means ‘unfunded new expectations that are unloaded onto the NHS’ will be looked at carefully and  NICE advisory guidelines could only be followed if they are affordable.

'We cannot go on staggering from year to year'

The chief executive of the NHS Confederation’s chief executive Niall Dickson  said: ‘The lack of  adequate funding for both health and social care remains one of the great social issues of this time – and patients and those who rely on social care are suffering every day as a result.

‘We cannot go on staggering from year to year. We need a grown up and honest debate about the long-term funding needs of both the NHS and social care.’

Think tank the Nuffield trust’s chief executive Professor John Appleby said: ‘The big question emerging from last week’s Budget is how far waiting lists for routine operations like hip and knee replacements are allowed to grow in order to preserve and improve other services like A&E and cancer care.

‘With the NHS under severe financial pressure – and, as NHS England acknowledges, already spending money it doesn’t have to keep the show on the road – ( NHSE’s) meeting puts down a clear marker that something will have to give.’

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