The King's Fund responds to the Comprehensive Spending Review

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Commenting on the 2021 Budget and Comprehensive Spending Review, Richard Murray, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund said:

‘The significant additional investment already announced for the NHS to stabilise services, upgrade equipment and facilities and tackle the backlog of care is very welcome, but the real game changer would have been clear funding for a workforce plan.  

‘Chronic workforce shortages across the health and care system heap further pressure on overstretched staff who are exhausted from the pandemic. Yet despite pledges, promises and manifesto commitments, the government has failed to use this Spending Review to answer the question of how it will chart a path out of the staffing crisis by setting out the funding for a multi-year workforce strategy. 

‘It is abundantly clear that the social care system cannot continue in its current form and is failing the people who need it. While the government’s commitment to bring forward funding reform is welcome, the sector is at breaking point now. The devil will be in the detail but on the face of it the uplift to local government funding announced today is not enough to keep pace with demand and meet current pressures, including being able to adequately reward the workforce. 

‘Over the past decade life-expectancy improvements have stalled and health inequalities have widened. While it is welcome that public health funding is maintained at its current level in real terms, it is disappointing that the government has chosen not to do more after several years of budget reductions that have led to cuts to local public health services.’ 

Notes to editors

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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 health and care is available to all.