In the wake of the government’s announcement that the NHS can expect a real term increase in funding of 3.4% per year by 2023, amounting to a supposed total increase of £20.5 billion by 2023, Dr Louise Irvine, Secretary of the National Health Action Party, joined Sky news to discuss the announcement, and whether the NHS was “still fit for purpose”.
In the interview Dr Irvine pointed out that in reality the government’s contention that the NHS can expect to receive an increase of 3.4% per year is a falsehood. The real figure is 3%. This is due to the fact that the spending will only be going to the NHS England budget, and not to other integral elements of the overall budget, including capital spending, doctor and nurse training, public health and of course, social care. Therefore, once the increase in funding is put into this context, the real increase amounts to 3% a year. This is 1% under the 4% spending increase per year that the NHS has traditionally received from other governments (excluding the Thatcher governments).
Dr Irvine also pointed out that all independent and objective bodies, including the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the Office of Budget Responsibility, the Kings Fund and Nuffield Trust, agree that 4% is the minimum amount required to allow the NHS to repair from the damage of years of austerity, and engage in longer term planning of care provision.
You can watch the whole interview here.