LEX TALK: How should the NHS spend its birthday money? Part Two
Jeremy Hunt is now the longest serving health secretary and, during his tenure, he has presided over the lowest period of spending growth the health service has seen, with funding only increasing at around 1%. However, after months of speculation the Health Secretary confirmed in a recent interview with the Guardian that Theresa May has decided to give the NHS a “significant increase” in its budget to coincide with its 70th birthday in July.
In recognition of this, Lexington Health is canvassing the opinions of the UK’s leading health experts around how extra resources should be allocated and how the NHS should spend its birthday money.
This week, we’ve spoken to Dr Andrew Goddard, Registrar and Incoming President of the Royal College of Physicians, and Saffron Cordery, Director of Policy and Strategy and Deputy Chief Executive of NHS Providers.
Dr Andrew Goddard
Registrar and Incoming President, Royal College of Physicians:
“My priorities would be (in no particular order):
- Increase in social care funding to enable more facilities and better transition for people who need social care to prevent them having to stay in hospital due to lack of availability of appropriate social care
- Investment in projects that bring care closer to the patient in the community to reduce pressure on hospitals, particularly those focused on the frail older person with multimorbidity
- Increase funding for more medical students as current numbers will not cover retirements and working patterns in 10 years’ time let alone the shortfall in doctors we have now and the increased demand that will occur year on year
- Create a ring-fenced pot for the preventative and public health plans laid out in the STPs as this is a relatively small proportion of the STP budgets but will have the most impact long term. I am not a great believer in hypothecated taxes but prevention and public health always seem to lose out in health budgets
- Bring back bursaries for nurse training”.
Director of Policy and Strategy and Deputy Chief Executive Officer, NHS Providers:
“From the perspective of frontline trusts up and down the country, any new funding needs to be prioritised to meet three key challenges:
First – keeping the ship upright – making sure that hospitals, mental health, community and ambulance services are able to meet national standards, repair their buildings, invest in key infrastructure, meet pay commitments and boost their workforces to get them on the right path for the future.
Second – widening the net – investing in the whole health and care system – including social and primary care, mental health services and services delivered by community trusts – as the key to sustainable services given the demography driven demands we face.
Third – changing course – planning and delivering the necessary structural and cultural transformation to ensure we use every pound of tax payers’ money effectively and efficiently.”