Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, said: “At its board meeting today, NHS England faced up to the consequences of the underfunding of the NHS by the Government.

“It made clear how patients will lose out as a result of political decisions about the funding of health and social care. There will be longer waits for elective surgery, and therefore more pain and worse outcomes for many. NHS England has also said it is unable to implement best practice as advised by NICE on a routine basis – an extraordinary state of affairs.

“We have now reached a point where the NHS Constitution will be routinely breached, and NHS services are being withdrawn. The confirmation that NHS England will consult on plans to restrict the availability on prescription of items that can be purchased over the counter is the latest example of its drive to cut spending – an exercise that will be difficult, and have complex consequences, including very probably for the relationship between GPs and their patients.

“NHS England should not have been placed in this impossible position by political decisions – its funding recommendations in the Five Year Forward View should have been implemented, but were not. Equally it should not be left to make decisions about which NHS services to withdraw by itself. Parliament and ministers must get a grip of this situation urgently.

“We know the NHS can deliver when given the resources. Having our healthcare whittle away in one of the richest nations in the world can’t possibly be acceptable.”
Notes to Editors

Read the Patients Association’s response to the Budget
Read the Patients Association submission to the Treasury ahead of the Budget
Read the Patients Association’s response to the consultation on ‘low value’ medicines, including over-the-counter medicines