Sally Warren, Director of policy at The King’s Fund, commented on the 2019 Spending Round
‘In the context of a one-year settlement, yesterday’s commitments to extra funding are better news for health and social care services than may have been expected. NHS England already benefits from a five-year financial settlement, but the decision not to commit to a longer-term settlement for the rest of the health and care system will leave the NHS, social care and public health without the certainty needed to stabilise and improve services as set out the NHS long-term plan. It’s the equivalent of putting a bit of extra fuel in the tank when the car urgently needs a full service.
‘Adult social care was the most pressing priority facing the government in this Spending Round, and the Chancellor has provided much-needed extra funds. But the money provided is the bare minimum needed to patch up services for another year and will not be enough to improve services for the people, families and carers who are being let down by the current system. Significant reform and a long-term funding settlement are urgently needed to deliver a fairer, simpler and more generous system.
‘The health and care workforce is in crisis with endemic staff shortages. The extra money pledged for Health Education England, including £150 million for the continuing professional development funding for nurses and midwives, is welcome. But this funding is not enough to support the increase in training places needed to tackle the workforce crisis across health and care.
‘Yesterday’s announcement halts the decline in public health budgets following years of damaging cuts. But it is a long way from the £1 billion needed to reverse cuts to vital local services such as sexual health clinics, stop smoking support and drug treatment.
‘Overall, yesterday’s funding announcements start to make up for lost ground but do not provide the investment needed to deliver improvements in quality and access to health and care services.’