“Whatever it takes”?

The inadequate support for the NHS and social care contained in last week’s business-focused Budget – coming as it does against a background of billions wasted on private sector contracts during the pandemic, and representing a reversal of the Chancellor’s earlier ‘blank cheque’ stance – reflects poorly on the government’s commitment to sustainable long-term investment in the health service. 

Analysis last month by NHS Providers (NHSP) of the delayed NHS 2019-20 annual accounts shows that the service’s finances were already stretched and deteriorating going into the pandemic, despite the funding settlement linked to the Long Term Plan.

Total provider deficit rose by almost £80m year-on-year, to £910m, largely because the overall NHS England (NHSE) budget “had not risen fast enough to meet the rapidly growing demands presented by an ageing population, more complex long-term conditions and technological advancement”.

Full story in The Lowdown, 8 March 2021