Health Secretary Sajid Javid has urged the government to further cut funding to the NHS, alleging there is ‘no quick fix’ to the current crisis seen in Britain’s A&E lobbies.
His remarks at a recent major NHS conference came after NHS England boss Amanda Pritchard said it was hard to see the social care crisis improving ahead of winter.
This crisis is leading to reported congestion in hospitals across the country, leading to increased waiting times and problems accessing GP appointments.
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The Mirror reports that speaking at the NHS Confed Expo event in Liverpool, Mr Javid said: ‘Funding will never be part of the answer.
“Increasing health care spending at twice the rate of economic growth over the next decade, as some are proposing, is neither sustainable, nor desirable, nor necessary. I don’t want my children, anyone’s children, to grow up in a country where more than half of government spending goes to health care at the expense of everything else, from education to housing.
“It’s not a fair deal for Britons, especially young people.”
Conservative governments have historically made the political decision not to fund the NHS at the level seen in similar developed countries. Germany and France spend 20-30% more in taxes per capita for their health systems, and have more doctors and hospital beds.
Health expenditures increase globally as populations age. The annual growth in the number of UK residents over 85 since the creation of the NHS is more than 3%.
The historic average annual increase in NHS funding from its inception in 1948 until 2009 – the year before the Tories came to power – was 4%.
The NHS Confederation says the last financial settlement of 4.3% in real terms could now be worth around 2.6% due to inflation. This would mean that by the end of this legislature in 2024/25, healthcare spending will have increased on average in real terms by only 2.2% per year since 2010.
Mr Javid continued: “The Resolution Foundation has predicted that this decade is likely to see the fastest rate of aging of all decades, from the 1960s to the 2040s.
“As our population ages, more and more people are living with increasingly complex long-term conditions. Treating an 80 year old is four times more expensive than treating a 50 year old. You know, at the beginning of this century, in 2000, health expenditure was around 27% of current public expenditure by 2024. This figure is expected to increase to 44%.
By 2024/25, the annual increase in NHS funding will have fallen to an average of 3.6% since its founding in 1948, reflecting a decade of underinvestment.
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: ‘We need to learn the lessons of austerity and the ‘feast or famine’ approach to funding. We welcomed last year’s regulations for health and care.
“We can discuss with the Secretary of State and Treasury its adequacy given the impact of inflation, but we can certainly agree that it was only the first step towards financial sustainability. We are accountable to the taxpayer and we all want to flatten the demand curve and achieve a position of financial sustainability.
“But we won’t get there until we close the capacity gap.
“That is why the NHS Confederation will ask all parties for an explicit commitment to the type of real-term funding increases that have been given to the NHS from its inception until 2009.
“That means at least 4% per year in real terms for the next decade. This is in line with pre-austerity averages and the amount the Health Foundation estimates is needed to ensure quality care in the face of rising expectations, rising costs and an aging population.
It comes amid record waits for hospital care and problems accessing GP appointments.
NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard told delegates: “The unacceptable increase in the 12-hour wait for A&E admission highlights one problem, as you know, is the flow.
“You can draw the line from delayed dumps to A&E congestion all the way through slower ambulance response times.
“It is hard to imagine that the social care capacity will be significantly expanded before winter. The NHS must therefore do everything in its power to solve this problem.
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This notice was published: 2022-06-15 20:49:23