Simon Stevens Criticises Government Plans for NHS Funding

According to the Chief Executive of NHS England, the plans of the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the funding of the health service are simply not workable.

George Osborne has already outlined his scheme for NHS funding until the end of the decade, with the forthcoming spending review thought to be of particular importance.

However, ahead of the release of this formal document, Simon Stevens has indicated his belief that negotiations on health funding require considerable progress.

Stevens suggested that the level of funding promised by George Osborne could not be reasonably described as genuinely workable.

With a £30 billion deficit facing the NHS between now and the end of the decade, Osborne had already pledged an increase of £8 billion in spending by 2020.

The further gap in funding is to be achieved via efficiency savings according to the plans of the Conservative government.

However, Stevens has stated his belief that it is a vital for the NHS to pledge extra cash in the short-term in order to kickstart service changes that will lead to desired savings in the longer term.

“As of today, considerably more progress is going to be needed before we can say we have a genuinely workable NHS funding solution for 2016-17 and 2017-18, but spending reviews usually come down to the wire, so hopefully we’ll get there by 25 November,” Stevens stated.

The NHS is merely one department reliant on government spending that will be affected by the forthcoming review.

In a statement in November, the Chancellor of the Exchequer already indicated that the Department of Communities and Local Government will have their budgets cut by 8 per cent on an annual basis.

Similar cuts have also been made with regard to the Department for Transport and Environment.

Meanwhile, Osborne is reportedly still in talks with a raft of cabinet ministers ahead of the key funding information release date.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, Home Secretary Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond have all been in discussion with the Chancellor over potential cuts to the departmental budgets.

Decisions to cut government departmental spending can be seen in the context of the overall economic position of the United Kingdom.

The British government is currently in the region of £1.7 trillion in debt, with the figure inching ever closer to 100 per cent of GDP.

This is compounded by a spending deficit still in the region of £100 billion per year.

Although the £1.7 trillion figure may sound substantial in itself, when unfunded liabilities are taken into consideration the real scale of debt is likely to be somewhere between 3 to 4 times this number.


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