NHS England may have to reassess what care it can offer patients in light of the funding allocated to it in this year’s Budget, it has hinted.
Chancellor Philip Hammond pledged the NHS an extra £6.3bn funding injection over the next five years when presenting his 2017 Budget to the House of Commons today (22 November).
But NHS England Chairman Sir Malcom Grant suggested that this sum would prompt a ‘difficult debate’ among health leaders because it will not be sufficient for the service to continue offering patients everything it currently does.
He said:‘The extra money the chancellor has found for the NHS is welcome and will go some way towards filling the widely accepted funding gap.
‘However, we can no longer avoid the difficult debate about what it is possible to deliver for patients with the money available. The NHS England board will need to lead this discussion when we meet on November 30.’
In the run-up to the announcement, health leaders warned that this year’s Budget had to “deliver” in order to boost the NHS.
At the time, think tanks The King’s Fund, the Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation stressed that an additional £4bn was required this year to stop the NHS deteriorating next year.
What will the extra funds be spent on?
The £6.3bn funding increase includes a £2.8bn investment in the NHS’s day-to-day spending, with £335m – rounded up to £350m in Mr Hammond’s address Commons – earmarked to help Trusts weather this year’s winter pressures.
Mr Hammond pledged a further £3.5bn to NHS England over the next five years – including £2.6bn for STPs – to help it improve its facilities and buildings.