‘NHS Long Term Plan’ will only succeed with higher investment, think tank warns

The Health Foundation says the success of the ‘NHS Long Term Plan’ hinges on whether the government provides enough long-term investment in the social care system.

Health Foundation and NHS Confederation briefing

Urgent government action is needed to address critical staff shortages and increase the productivity of NHS trusts in order to deliver the ‘NHS Long Term Plan’, the Health Foundation has warned.

The warnings are the conclusion of an analysis carried out by the Health Foundation, an independent charity, which was published alongside a survey of frontline health leaders from the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations that plan, commission and provide NHS services.

In a briefing document, ‘Investing in the NHS long term plan’, published on 18 June 2019, the Health Foundation expressed its support for the ‘NHS Long Term Plan’, published in January 2019, but argued that its success or failure would depend on whether the government commits to supporting investment in the workforce, capital infrastructure, the prevention agenda and social care.

The report projected that, for the balance between day-to-day spending, investment in prevention, building and equipment, and staff to be restored, a growth rate of 4.1% per year over the next five years would be needed to bring the Department of Health and Social Care’s annual budget to £163bn. The government announced in 2018 that the NHS would receive an increase in funding of £20.5bn that would take its annual budget to £155bn by 2023/2024.

Jennifer Dixon, chief executive at the Health Foundation, said: “The vision set out by NHS leaders in the long-term plan is the right one, and the extra funding announced by Theresa May [in summer 2018] is welcome. But this is not job done.

“There are mounting workforce shortages, the social care system is starved of funding, capital investment is going backwards, and public health funds cut.

“The new government needs to honour last year’s promises to set out long-term funding for public health, capital investment, workforce training and social care, and ensure they receive sufficient funding to support the long-term plan ambitions.”

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The Pharmaceutical Journal, 'NHS Long Term Plan' will only succeed with higher investment, think tank warns;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2019.20206691

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