NHS Confederation - Spending Review is 'Polyfilla budget' and leaves cracks unfilled

26 Nov 2020 09:20 AM

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, responded to the Spending Review 

“The economic forecast for the nation has been laid bare by the Chancellor, but continuing to under-resource the NHS, social care and other public services will not get us out of this black hole when we know there is a strong link between the health of our economy and our own health and wellbeing.

“NHS leaders will cautiously welcome the confirmation that there will be £3 billion of additional funding to tackle the care backlog, the increased demand for mental health services and wider pressures, but it falls far short of the £10 billion that the Health Foundation says is needed. In many ways, this is a Polyfilla budget, which leaves some major cracks unfilled. Political leaders will need to manage public expectations, as there is a very real risk to the quality of services that hardworking health and care staff are able to deliver.

“The announcement of more funding for PPE and test and trace is welcome, and NHS leaders will expect the Government to continue to find the money required to enable their staff to respond effectively to the pandemic.  

“The NHS’s workforce has played a vital part in our response to the coronavirus crisis and so it is right that their dedication is recognised with a pay increase. We will need to see the detail of how trusts and other employers will be expected to fund this. The £260 million allocated for staff training and education is a positive step, but it is significantly below what is needed to address the longstanding workforce shortages across the NHS.

"Nine months into the pandemic, failing to acknowledge the equally important contributions from our colleagues in social care and other services will feel like a slap in the face, as this sector has been starved yet again from long-term funding, and according to our analysis with the Health Foundation, the £1 billion grant is insufficient.

“Our members are very aware of the financial situation the country is facing, and they will see the consequences come through their doors. We need honest conversations about how far this money will go, as it leaves a lot of unfinished business in areas such as public health grants and broader capital investment. The Government needs to come back to this without delay in the new year.” 

Spending Review 2020 speech