With the Spending Review dominating the headlines, we take a look at responses from the healthcare sector.
Royal College of Nursing
Following chancellor George Osborne’s speech at the House of Commons where he detailed where cash will be funnelled, and where it will be cut, over the next five years, healthcare organisations have been quick to respond.
Janet Davies, RCN chief executive and general secretary, highlighted the uncertainty that will result fro scrapping student nurse bursaries.
“Student nurses aren’t like other students. Fifty per cent of their time is spent in clinical practice working directly with patients and their families and they have a longer academic year.
“These proposals will saddle future generations of these student nurses with even more debt and financial pressures and unless nurses pay improves, many graduates will never be in a position to pay their loans back.”
“The ring-fence to nursing student funding has been removed and a precious link between the NHS and its nurses is potentially at risk, making it harder to plan for the future workforce,” she said.
Meanwhile Rob Webster, chief executive of NHS Confederation, said the NHS faces the “toughest challenges for a generation” but it was an “encouraging day” for the NHS.
“The commitment to front-load funding across the next two years gives the NHS a fighting chance to transform the way that care is delivered to patients…
“The Treasury has listened to the case we have been making on behalf of our members and at least half of our conditions have been met. Additional mental health funding is promising and we now need to see it invested at the frontline where patients need it most,” he said.
The King’s Fund
John Appleby, chief economist at The King’s Fund, said: “Judged against the constraints of deficit reduction and cuts to other departmental budgets, the Spending Review represents a good settlement for the NHS.
“Seen in the context of unprecedented financial pressures and rising demand for services, it falls a long way short of the new settlement needed to place the NHS and social care on a sustainable footing for the future.”
Healthcare Financial Management Association
Director of policy, Paul Briddock, said: “We welcome today’s announcement that there will an increase in NHS spending in England from £101 billion in 2015/16 to £120 billion by 2020, and we are pleased much of this increase will be seen by 2016/17.
“The government has listened to the calls of those on the ground for the pledged money to be front loaded, which will support NHS organisations, the vast majority of which are facing a difficult 2016/17.
“When other sectors and services are facing cuts, the NHS will be grateful for this additional funding, which will help to meet the additional demands being placed on the NHS.”