Group of MPs Criticises Government Over £10 Billion Claims

Several Members of Parliament believe that the government has incorrectly claimed that it is contributing £10 billion to the NHS in England by the end of the decade.

The Health Committee has written to the chancellor, stating that figures released by the government give the “false impression that the NHS is awash with cash”.

Estimates from the MPs indicate that the figure is closer to £4.5 billion.

This is of particular concern, as the £10 billion figure is readily quoted by the government and future health care plans have been based on the number.

The Health Select Committee, chaired by Dr Sarah Wollaston, Has assessed a raft of evidence regarding NHS finances over the last few months.

And he believes that the extent of financial pressure in the NHS is not sufficiently recognised by government at present.

Wollaston believes that NHS organisations have communicated their needs clearly, but that the government has failed to deliver.

And the committee has called on the government to explicitly commit to more NHS funding.

Richard Murray, from think tank the King’s Fund, indicated that a deficit in expenditure on social care could be considered particularly important.

“The most urgent priority for the Autumn Statement is to increase funding for social care. Years of budget cuts have had a significant impact on older people, their families and carers and are exacerbating pressures on the NHS, with record numbers of patients who are fit to be discharged but delayed in hospital.”

Meanwhile, Anita Charlesworth, director of research and economics at the Health Foundation, suggested the government must act in its Autumn Statement.

“The Autumn Statement is an opportunity for the government to take immediate action to support social care. But for the health service pressure is building, and building fast. With funding growth set to slow sharply from 2018, it’s hard to see how the range and quality of services for patients will be sustained.”

And the British Medical Association spoke out on the cuts being requested by government.

“The NHS is already the most efficient healthcare system in the world. The notion that the funding crisis can be solved with further efficiency savings is a myth, and these are not savings, they are year-on-year cuts that have driven almost every acute trust in England into deficit, led to a crisis in general practice and a community and social care system on the brink of collapse.”

Meanwhile, a government spokesman outlined that there would indeed be a “£10 billion real-terms increase in its annual funding by 2020-21, for hospitals, GPs, and mental health services. We have also allowed local government to increase social care spending in the years to 2020, with access to up to £3.5 billion of new support by then.”


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