Siva Anadaciva
Chief Analyst, King’s Fund

“Additional funding could provide some mild analgesia for current NHS pressures, for example by allowing more staff to be hired (where they can be found), dormant hospital wards to be reopened (if they can be staffed) and addressing the poor physical condition of some of the NHS estate. But as essential is finding a cure for these problems – and that lies in financially supporting the transformation of services already underway in integrated care systems. This means investing in new ways of working, social care, public health, community services and technology – in a word – ‘transformation’. Prioritisation is a fiendish task but failing to use this extra investment for ‘parallel funding’ of new ways of delivering care would be a wasted opportunity the NHS might rue for decades to come.”

John Kell
Head of Policy, The Patients Association

“There are two ways to think about how an NHS funding increase should be spent. The first is the easier: what should the balance of funding be in a future NHS? There’s wide consensus that it should be much more focused on prevention and community services, keeping people well in their own homes and ensuring that care wraps seamlessly around patients’ needs. More spending on mental health should be part of the picture too.

The second is much harder: what’s the first priority, in the current mess, in order to get there? Proper transformation is essential and must be funded, but in the meantime, there are myriad services that need shoring up in order to get back to providing high standards of patient care. Balancing those two needs will tax NHS England’s decision-makers considerably – they will do well to listen to patient views in weighing up their first moves.”