The Conservative governments claim of injecting an “extra £10 billion” into the NHS by 2020 has been 'rubbished' by MPs and proven to be untrue.
The numbers have perhaps been best explained by the Nuffield Trust’s Sally Gainsbury.
She shows that the £8 billion from 2016-2020-21 began at best as a rounding up of an actual £7.6 billion uplift over 5 years. It was only inflated to the mythical £10 billion figure by adding in the money already allocated for the previous year 2015-16.
But it was always a deception: because while alongside some increases to NHS England’s budget, there are simultaneous cuts of over £3 billion being imposed on the rest of the Department of Health budget, which is not ring-fenced against cuts.
So £7.6bn from 2016-2020 turns out to be just £4.5bn extra health spending over the same 5 years. However the £4.5bn “real terms” increase is itself calculated on the basis of general inflation in the economy, not the much higher levels of price increases faced by the NHS in the global market for drugs and equipment.
These threaten cost increases high enough to wipe out another £3.7 billion.
In other words the promised £10 bn “real terms” increase is actually worth less than a tenth of that amount, just £800 million, over the next few years to 2020.And the comparatively generous financial uplift of 2016-17 is followed by two more years of even more brutal squeeze on spending, which is set to force a massive round of further cuts and desperate so-called efficiency “savings.” These will put local access to hospitals and other health services at risk for millions, most of them older and living in more rural areas.
Devon MP Sarah Wollaston, Chair of the Commons Health Committee, was among the growing ranks of those who openly criticised the government’s deception
Article kindly reproduced from Health Campaigns Together '2017 Election Special' issue available for download as a PDF here.
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