Now NHS faces £20bn-plus budget gap

The Lowdown is running out of vocabulary to sum up the situation confronting the NHS, as each revelation on the financial front reveals a further deterioration.

A month ago we headlined ‘Worst-ever crisis set to get worse’: but the verbal and written report to last week’s NHS England Board meeting has shown things have slid even further downhill.

NHSE’s chief financial officer Julian Kelly told the Board the NHS plan faces a funding gap of over £14 billion by 2025: he warned that this raises real questions now over whether commitments on cancer, mental health and more are affordable. But even that understates the scale and immediacy of the problem. His report’s executive summary shows that the gap is even bigger, and still growing:

“In total we have committed to delivering £12bn of annualised savings by 2024/25 including reducing exceptional funding for covid. The impact of higher inflation this year and the potential recurrent effect of this year’s pay settlement and other responsibilities transferred to us could add substantially to this. In addition to this we could face a further £6-7bn depending on how inflation feeds through into pay and other prices next year.”

Full story in The Lowdown, 11 October 2022