This week’s Budget announced a further £2.8 billion of funding over the next three years for the NHS, comprising:
- An additional £350 million this year, up-front, to cover anticipated Winter pressures.
- An additional £1.6 billion for 2018-19.
- An additional £850 million in 2019-20.
All of this is on top of the government’s increased spending agreements with the NHS from 2015, which injected £9 billion in cash terms.
One might have expected these announcements to have been met with a reaction of optimism. Or gratitude, even? Apparently not. This situation (and the underlying collective mind-set) deserves ongoing investigation.
Triggle, N. (2017). NHS Budget plan not enough, say bosses. London: BBC Health News, November 22nd 2017.
What sort of things can go wrong when the NHS is believed to have “bottomless pockets” – in the sense of limitless funds – by suppliers, contractors and NHS employees? An indicative example (picked almost at random):
NHS overcharged by millions for key drug, says watchdog. London: BBC Health News, November 21st 2017.
Adult Social Care
The situation regarding social care funding is different and more pressing; but a consultation paper is expected soon:
Schraer, R. (2017). Have there been two decades of failure to reform social care? London: BBC Health News, November 24th 2017.
Expedient Bail-Outs Versus the Moral Hazard of Rewards for Failure
Therrien, A (2018). NHS bail-outs could become new normal, National Audit Office says. London: BBC Health News, January 18th 2018.
The Distraction of Politics?
Talk of battle lines? More might be achieved for patients and tax payers if people were to continue prioritising “working together” for the common good, within recognised financial constraints. (The old platitudes are the best).
Pym, H. (2017). NHS prepares for financial showdown. London: BBC Health News, November 24th 2017.
Warnings About Rationing and NHS Waiting Time Targets
Rationing of routine and “low value” medicines available over-the-counter for non-serious conditions may well be realistic. An open debate over waiting times is also eminently sensible; but may (in part?) be spun deliberately into a contrived political football.
“A Department of Health official said the government was supporting the NHS with extra resources ‘to make progress on A&E and waiting-time performance, including £335m this year to help with winter pressures’.”
Pym, H. (2017). ‘Not enough funding to hit waiting time targets’. London: BBC Health News, November 30th 2017.
Possibly of interest:
NHS England frees up millions of pounds which could be used for frontline services. [Online]: NHS England, March 29th 2018.
Ambivalence on NHS Staff Shortages
Statistics from the General Medical Council (GMC) about crucial staff shortages and under-supply, countered somewhat by data from the Department of Health indicating record numbers of doctors working in the NHS in England; up by around 15,000 since May 2010. The number of training places will increase by 25% in coming years.
NHS workforce ‘at crunch point’. London: BBC Health News, December 19th 2017.