MPs say the funding challenges facing the NHS in England are “colossal” and that the £8.4bn promised for the health service by 2020 in the 2015 autumn spending review is likely to be only half that amount in real terms.
Lack of money and the shift of resources away from public health, health education and transformation, and capital budgets means that the vision for the NHS outlined in the ‘Five year forward view’ is unattainable, they say.
“The funding announced in the [2015 autumn] spending review does not meet the government’s commitment to fund the ‘Five year forward view’,” says the House of Commons health select committee in the report of its inquiry into the impact of the spending review on health and social care, published on 19 July 2016.
Hospital trust efficiency plans are not enough to balance the books in the long term and money earmarked for integrating health and social care is being redirected to cut hospital deficits instead.
Public health cuts outlined in the spending review are a false economy, conclude the MPs, who are concerned about the impact on the NHS workforce of the abolition of student bursaries.
The MPs say: “It is time for the government and NHS England to set out how they will manage the shortfall in NHS and social care finances if the measures proposed by the ‘Five year forward view’ fail to bridge the funding gap. If the funding is not increased, there needs to be an honest explanation of what that will mean for patient care and how that will be managed.”
- This article was amended on 25 July 2016 to correct the amount of money that has been promised for the health service by 2020.