NHS told to cut £500m in spending

NHS England has been asked by the government to reduce core NHS funding by hundreds of millions of pounds in 2022-23. NHSE chief financial officer Julian Kelly told a meeting of NHS England’s board: “We have been asked to see if we can cut core NHS funding – at the moment that is probably to the tune of £500m.”

Mr Kelly said achieving this would likely involve “slowing down” some transformation programmes and ambitions from the NHS long-term plan, including “how fast we go on the change in technology, on some of the innovation stuff we have spoken about… and the prevention programme”.

Mr Kelly said the request from the Department of Health and Social Care was “as a consequence of needing to find funding to deal with the government’s Living with Covid plans and the cost of the public health policy around Test and Trace”.

HSJ reported in February that health and social care secretary Sajid Javid and chancellor Rishi Sunak were at loggerheads over whether the DHSC should receive additional funding for covid testing on top of the health service’s spending envelope. It is thought the dispute ultimately ended with the DHSC receiving more than £1bn less budget than it believed it required in 2022-23 to pay for ongoing covid costs such as testing and vaccines.

Full story in HSJ, 24 March 2022