Hunt admits health funding was not protected in spending review

Jeremy Hunt has acknowledged that the full health budget was not protected in the government’s spending review.

The health secretary, appearing before the Commons’ health committee on Monday, did not challenge the assertion that overall spending would increase in real terms by only £4.5bn by 2021, after the NHS ringfence was redefined in November.

As highlighted last year by HSJ, NHS England’s budget will increase in real terms by about £8bn, while other Department of Health budgets face cuts of 20 per cent.

In its public statements the DH has consistently referred to a £8bn increase for NHS England, rather than a £4.5bn increase for all health spending.

When pressed on this point by committee chair Sarah Wollaston, Mr Hunt said: “I do recognise that we didn’t protect the entire health budget. But our determinant as to whether this was sufficient was what NHS England felt they needed in order to do to put in place the [Five Year Forward View].

Full story in the HSJ 9 May 2016