Thank you for contacting me about the NHS. I am sorry that like other constituents of mine, you appear to have been misled by a 38 Degrees-inspired campaign about NHS funding which are designed to give the false impression that the Government is cutting the NHS budget.
The Conservative Government is supporting the NHS’s own plan for the future and is increasing NHS spending by a minimum of £8 billion in real terms over the next five years.
At the recent Budget, additional capital funding was announced to support the NHS, with £325 million for local improvement plans and £100 million to improve A&E services.
I wholeheartedly support the Government’s increase to the NHS budget. However, the NHS is a public service like any other, and local areas must live within their agreed budgets, otherwise they are effectively unfairly depriving other parts of the NHS of much-needed resources. As I understand, the so-called ‘capped expenditure process’ is part of NHS England and NHS Improvement’s financial planning, which examines how a small number of NHS areas could do more to balance their budgets, and remain on a financially sustainable footing for the long run.
On top of this, to secure the best value for taxpayers, tough new financial controls have been introduced to cut down on waste in the NHS, including introducing caps for agency staff and management consultants, and introducing central procurement rules.
In recognition of the pressures facing social care in local areas, the Chancellor has announced a package of measures in the recent budget which go even further to help the health and care system. Local Authorities in England will receive an additional £2 billion for social care over the next three years. This will help to ease pressures on the NHS by supporting more people to be discharged from hospital and into care as soon as they are ready.
I believe fully in the NHS and its values, and I would like to assure you that the Government is committed to a tax-funded NHS, free at the point of use, wherever and whenever you need it. As Ministers plan a new relationship with the EU, I know they will continue to ensure that the NHS is given the priority it deserves.
In my view this represents a balanced approach to making sure our NHS is properly funded and achieves value for money. Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.