The King’s Fund has responded to Theresa May’s announcement yesterday of new NHS funding, calling it a “welcome shot in the arm”.
Yesterday, UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced new NHS funding, advising that by 2023, the government would be setting aside an extra £20.5bn (~€23.4bn) a year for the health service.
The health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said this amount of money would be enough that “the NHS can regain core performance [on key waiting time targets] and lay the foundations for service improvement”.
New NHS funding a “welcome shot in the arm”
Response to the announcement has been positive, with the chief executive of The King’s Fund, Chris Ham, saying: “The prime minister has administered a welcome shot in the arm that will get the NHS back on its feet but not provided the long-term cure that would restore it to full health.”
He continued: “Hard choices lie ahead, and it will be difficult to reduce financial deficits among NHS providers, get back on track in delivering national waiting time standards and bring about further improvements in services like cancer care, mental health and general practice.
“It will also be challenging to sustain increases in productivity which have generally outpaced the economy in recent years.”
What can be done with the new funding?
Ham added: “It is essential that some of the extra funding is ring-fenced to support new ways of providing integrated care to improve patient experience and take pressure off hospitals. More detail is also needed on what it means for key areas of spending that fall outside NHS England’s budget such as public health, capital investment and staff training.
“While we welcome the prime minister’s assurance that future decisions about social care spending will not add to pressures on the NHS, this hardly suggests an ambitious statement of intent. The forthcoming social care green paper must deliver on the prime minister’s promise to act where others have failed to lead by delivering substantial and wide-ranging reform.
“We welcome the commitment to publish a long-term plan for the NHS later this year. This must also go hand in hand with a comprehensive strategy to tackle the crisis facing the health and care workforce.”