NHS long-term plan jeopardised without additional investment – new analysis

The delivery of the NHS long-term plan is in doubt without urgent government action on wider funding, a health body has warned.

The plan was published in January after the Government committed to an extra £20.5 billion in funding per year by 2023-24.

It involves greater use of high-tech treatments and diagnostic testing and could prevent 150,000 heart attacks, strokes and dementia cases.

But new analysis of the plan by the NHS Confederation in a report titled Unfinished Business: The Need To invest in the whole health and care system, says: “Above all, though, we would urge government to complete the funding settlement for the health and care system and provide the additional investment needed for social care, capital investment, education and training and public health in the forthcoming spending review.

“The level of concern about the impact of the cuts in recent years among senior leaders in the NHS is very worrying and reflects their daily experience of the significant knock-on effects on health and care services.

“The ability of local systems to deliver the long-term plan must be in doubt without this additional investment.”

A briefing from The Health Foundation said: “Although it may seem like the funding outlook for health was ‘settled’ with the Prime Minister’s promise of an extra £20.5 billion between 2018/19 and 2023/24, the Spending Review is a crucial moment.

“Not only does it determine the outlook for the wider Department of Health and Social Care budget which covers investment spending, it will also determine the funding available for social care where the gap between the funding available and pressures on the system is even greater.”

Dr Jennifer Dixon (pictured), 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 last summer is welcome. But this is not job done.

“Policymakers need to face the fact that there is urgent unfinished business if the NHS is to deliver its vision to improve patient care.

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

Responding to the new analysis, Royal College of Nursing chief executive and general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said: “These two organisations are clearly warning that the staffing crisis is still ‘mounting’ and ‘crippling’ the NHS in England.

“Warnings of this kind and from people of their calibre shouldn’t roll off the backs of ministers.

“There’s no doubt that without substantial additional investment, it will continue.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) The Health Foundation.