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Autumn Statement a ‘missed opportunity’, say healthcare leaders


24 November 2016

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Chancellor Philip Hammond has “missed a golden opportunity” to relieve pressure on the NHS, healthcare leaders have said.

Hammond, who focused his investment on housing, failed to mention the NHS in his first Autumn Statement yesterday.

Stephen Dalton, chief executive of NHS Confederation, said: “The Treasury has missed a golden opportunity to ease the strain on the NHS. While the Government is right to review long-term spending plans, social care services are in crisis right now.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has “missed a golden opportunity” to relieve pressure on the NHS, healthcare leaders have said.

Hammond, who focused his investment on housing, failed to mention the NHS in his first Autumn Statement yesterday.

Stephen Dalton, chief executive of NHS Confederation, said: “The Treasury has missed a golden opportunity to ease the strain on the NHS. While the Government is right to review long-term spending plans, social care services are in crisis right now.

“Our staff delivering services on the frontline this winter will find it extraordinary that the Government has turned a blind eye to the stresses and strains being felt in the health and social care system.

“Relying on a political rhetoric that promises to protect the NHS, but fails to acknowledge that a cut in social care results in a cost to the NHS, is an economic deception.”

In his speech to Parliament, Hammond repeated the claim that the Government has already pledged £10bn to the end of this Parliament.

However, the House of Commons Health Committee said the figure is actually only a £4.5bn increase because of other cuts.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said the Autumn Statement is “disappointing” considering the “rare degree of consensus” surrounding the call for more funding.

He said: “It’s the responsibility of the government to set the funding for NHS and social care and the responsibility of the health and care sector to deliver the best performance it can within the funding available.

“NHS trusts are working flat out, treating more patients than ever before, but they are experiencing record levels of demand because of the pressures in social care and general practice.

“That’s why we, along with the rest of the health and care sector, called for extra funding for social care as the priority. It’s disappointing, given the rare degree of consensus, that this call has not been met.”

Professor John Appleby, Nuffield Trust’s chief economist, said the Chancellor’s Statement is “grim news for the NHS” as it “underlines that the austerity measures affecting all public services will continue till the end of the decade”.

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