Commenting on a new letter to NHS systems on financial challenges created by industrial action, Sally Warren, Director of Policy at The King’s Fund, said:
‘Around £100 million of the package announced today is new money for the NHS ahead of what is likely to be a difficult winter.
‘We cannot pretend this money is enough for the NHS to be able to do everything it would like to do to give patients the care they deserve and expect. A reprioritisation process is now going to have to take place as to how England delivers health care, and this winter health care leaders may have to abandon their plans to install additional beds, hire more staff and bring in support from voluntary organisations – measures the NHS traditionally uses to get through seasonal pressures. Yet again, NHS leaders are put in the unenviable position of having to delay investment in buildings and technology in order to keep services running day to day – these kind of short-term decisions create longer-term challenges.
'The money announced today is not going to be enough if further strikes take place this year and is not enough to guarantee that the financial balance of local NHS organisations and waiting list ambitions will be met.
‘The cycle of annual emergency funding for the NHS based on a series of short-term plans is no way to run a health service efficiently. We need to get back to a place where the health and care system does not face a meltdown every winter, but that requires long-term decisions that can bring demand, capacity and efficiency back into better balance.’
Notes to editors
Notes to editors
As political parties prepare for the upcoming general election, The King’s Fund has identified three priorities where national action from a future government can help to ‘fix’ the NHS and social care and improve people’s health: The King's Fund's priorities for health and care at the next general election | The King's Fund (kingsfund.org.uk)
Read a recent blog by Richard Murray, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund, on winter pressures ahead of the Autumn Statement: The Autumn Statement: playing with fire? | The King's Fund (kingsfund.org.uk)
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