The King's Fund responds to the government announcement on NHS funding and changes to NHS pensions

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Commenting on the government announcement of funding for the NHS and changes to NHS pensions, Richard Murray, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund, said:

‘A prolonged period of underfunding has increasingly left some patients at risk as staff struggle to cope with faulty equipment in buildings that are in some cases literally falling apart around them.

‘A significant amount of work is needed to bring NHS buildings and equipment up to scratch after years of capital budgets being raided to cover day-to-day running costs. The new funding announced today is a welcome first step, but a longer-term investment programme is needed to tackle the £6 billion NHS maintenance backlog, upgrade GP surgeries that are no longer fit for purpose, and modernise the NHS so it can take advantage of new technology.

‘As well as shoring up buildings, urgent action is needed to shore up the NHS workforce. Severe staff shortages are the biggest challenge facing the health service, with nearly 100,000 vacancies in NHS trusts. In addition to pensions reform, solving the workforce crisis will require a raft of measures, including financial incentives to attract more nurses, and ramped-up international recruitment to plug rota gaps today.’

Notes to editors

For more information and interview requests, contact Andrew McCracken on 07774 907960.

The latest NHS ‪Estates Returns Information Collection, England data (2017/18) shows that the NHS maintenance backlog stands at £6 billion, of which more than £3 billion is categorised as high or significant risk.

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.