The King's Fund response to the Health Select Committee’s Spending Review report

Commenting on the Health Select Committee’s report on the impact of the Spending Review on health and social care, Richard Murray, Director of Policy at The King’s Fund, said:

‘The Health Select Committee has summed up the funding challenges facing health and social care with laser-like precision.

‘It is clear that it is no longer credible to argue that the NHS can continue to meet increasing demand for services, deliver its commitments on standards of care and stay within its budget. The government must review its priorities for the NHS and be honest with the public about what the service can deliver with the funding it has been allocated.

‘We note that the Committee has backed the independent assessment we and others made that the NHS budget will increase by much less than originally appeared in the Spending Review. We support their call for the government to return to using the previous definition of health spending.

‘As the Committee points out, addressing the growing crisis in social care needs to be a much higher priority for the government. With publicly funded services increasingly available only to the poorest and those with the highest needs, this will be a key test of the Prime Minister’s promise of a country that works for everyone. Re-igniting the stalled debate on funding reform must be an urgent priority, as should reviewing short-sighted cuts to public health spending.

‘The Committee is right to identify opportunities to make savings by tackling variation in clinical practice and the NHS must re-double efforts to improve productivity. However, as the report points out, there is no detailed plan for achieving the £22 billion required and no prospect that savings can be made at the pace or scale needed to meet this target.’

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The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible care is available to all.