In its annual report on the financial sustainability of the NHS, the NAO concludes that the existence of substantial deficits in some parts of the system, offset by surpluses elsewhere coupled with growing waiting lists and year-on-year increases in waiting times, does not paint a picture that is sustainable. The recent NHS long-term plan sets out a prudent approach to achieving the priorities and tests set by the government in return for its long-term funding settlement but a number of risks remain to the delivery of the plan.
The long-term funding settlement equates to a 3.4% average real-terms increase in funding, from 2019-20 to 2023-24 and applies only to the budget for NHS England and not to the Department’s entire budget. Consequently, it does not cover some key areas of health spending such as education, public health and capital investment that could affect the NHS’s ability to deliver the priorities of the long-term plan.
Full story on National Audit Office website, 18 January 2019