The Patients Association has reacted with deep disappointment to the Prime Minister's announcement of the future NHS funding settlement today.

Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, said: “Today's announcement provides enough cash to stabilise the NHS for a while, but it will clearly not be enough to transform the service to meet the changing needs of patients as the population ages and more people live longer with multiple health conditions.

"We have seen only recently the consequences of underfunding the NHS, with patients receiving undignified and unsafe treatment on hospital corridors. The Government has been advised time and time again of the scale of the problem, and the funding necessary to put things right. Patients have been waiting with bated breath for news of an announcement that will give the health service a sustainable future. Despite that, the Government has chosen not to deliver it.

“It is a classic false economy: if our NHS and public health system can't support people to keep as well as possible in their own homes, more and more people will hit a crisis and end up in increasingly pressured hospitals. We will be back in another funding crisis situation in a few years' time. Meanwhile, patients look set to be kept waiting in pain and discomfort for operations, and the squeeze on NHS provision that we have recently seen on things like over-the-counter and 'low value' medicines will continue.

“Curating the health of the nation is one of the most profound duties on any government, and also one of the best investments it can possibly make. We know the NHS can deliver when given the resources. Its productivity gains in recent years have surpassed those of the economy overall, and globally it is as efficient as any health system out there and better than most. The Prime Minister's dig about 'waste and bureaucracy' in her Mail on Sunday article is uncalled for, and creates a false expectation that there are major gains to be found through efficiency savings.

“Perhaps today's announcement represents a shift in terms of the Government's willingness to put up new money – but if it wants full credit for that, it should provide full details. Will there really be 'protection' for public health, capital and training budgets, as has apparently been briefed to journalists? Will that be adequate to make up for the short measure in the main announcement?

“Where there should be reassurance for patients, there is only uncertainty and concern today.”

Notes for Editors

This blog post contains more in-depth analysis of today's announcement:

The Patients Association's submission to the Treasury ahead of the 2017 Autumn Budget can be read here: