Chancellor’s budget boost to NHS frontline conceals £1bn cut

Full story in The Guardian, 30 October 2018

Public health services and the education and training of nurses and doctors will be cut by £1bn next year as part of the government’s plan to boost the NHS’s budget by £20bn by 2023, it has emerged.

A leading expert in NHS finances warned ministers that their strategy of “robbing Peter to pay Paul” is a false economy that risks worsening already serious understaffing in England’s health service.

Prof Anita Charlesworth, director of economics and research at the Health Foundation, identified the £1bn loss of funding that will affect those two areas in 2019-20, as well as NHS capital investment, which the health service uses to refurbish its estate, build new premises and buy equipment.

Ministers are continuing their policy of squeezing the amount of money they put into the elements of the Department of Health and Social Care’s budget that are not protected in order to help fund Theresa May’s £20bn birthday present to mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS’s creation in 1948.