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27
Nov

Chancellor ups NHS funding, but is it enough?


In his autumn budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced an additional £6.3 billion of funding for the NHS in England to be spent on frontline services and upgrading essential buildings and facilities. He also committed the government to funding pay awards for nurses and other Agenda for Change staff as long as they are part of a deal with the unions to boos productivity.

The Chancellor says the new funding will improve the service that patients receive in A&E, reduce waiting times for treatment after referral, and put the NHS on a stronger, more sustainable footing.

The funding breaks down as follows:

  • £2.8 billion of additional resource funding over 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 for the NHS in England for day-to-day spending, for example surgeries and treatments. This will help it to get back on track to meet its performance targets on waiting times in A&E and after patients are referred to treatment. It will ensure that more patients receive the care that they need more quickly.
  • £3.5 billion of capital investment for buildings and facilities in the NHS in England by 2022-23.

The buildings and facilities allocation is broken down further. £2.6 billion is allocated for the NHS’s Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships for improvements in facilities which will help local areas deliver more integrated care for patients, and better meet demand for services. The government is provisionally allocating the first 10% of this to the highest quality bids from Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships with the strongest potential to help them meet future demand and develop local clinical and financial accountability (see list below). The remainder of the funding will be allocated in due course.

£700 million will support turnaround plans in the Trusts facing the biggest challenges, and to tackle the most urgent and critical maintenance issues – to help ensure every patient is treated in a safe environment, with the highest quality of care. The remaining  £200 million will support efficiency programmes that will, for example, help reduce NHS energy bills, and fund technology that will allow more staff time to be directed towards treating patients.

Whilst the commitment of more money for the NHS has been welcomed, industry experts caution it is not enough. The King's Fund says: "The additional money for the NHS is a welcome shot in the arm, but it is still significantly less than the £4 billion we estimate the NHS needs next year."

"The government may have shifted its position on NHS pay, but health staff are many months away from any extra money in their pay packets and a long way off a firm commitment to the level of pay rise they all need and have earned," says UNISON's Head of Health, Sara Gorton.

"Trying to correct the impact of six long yeas of pay restraint in one single pay round will be a huge challenge without significant investment.
"Extra cash to see the NHS through what could turn out to be a long, cold winter will be welcomed in hospitals across the country, but it's not enough for a health service struggling to care for patients while all the time more and more people are calling upon its services."


Sustainability and Transformation Partnership bids selected for the first wave of provisional funding:

  • Barnsley Hospital Children’s Emergency Department and Assessment Unit scheme (South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw STP)
  • Doncaster Urgent and Emergency Care scheme (South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw STP)
  • Leeds Community Child and Adolescent Mental Health Inpatient Unit scheme (West Yorkshire STP)
  • Chesterfield Urgent Care scheme (Derbyshire STP)
  • Russell’s Hall Hospital Dudley Urgent Care Centre scheme (Black Country STP)
  • Birmingham Children’s Hospital Emergency Department scheme (Birmingham and Solihull STP)
  • South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust Out of Hospital Care scheme (Coventry and Warwickshire STP)
  • Mid and South Essex Acute Hospitals reconfiguration scheme (Mid-and-South Essex STP)
  • South West London and St George’s NHS Mental Health Trust Estates Modernisation scheme (South West London STP)
  • Frimley Out of Hospital Integrated Care Hubs scheme (Frimley Health STP)
  • Bracknell Forest Heathlands scheme (Frimley Health STP)
  • Chiltern and Aylesbury Vale Primary Care Hub scheme (Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West STP)


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