The Patients Association is supporting calls for improved NHS funding by Simon Stevens, the Chief Executive of NHS England, and leading health think tanks the King’s Fund, Nuffield Trust and Health Foundation. The Association also called for an adequate funding settlement in its own submission to the Treasury ahead of the Autumn Budget.
Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, said: “We are a wealthy country, and whether we fund our health and social care services adequately is a political choice. Patients are already feeling the consequences of the current underfunding. The Chancellor should use his Budget to bridge the immediate shortfall in funding, and set a course for a long-term, sustainable settlement for health and social care.”
The Patients Association’s submission to the Treasury ahead of the Budget outlined the complex ways in which the underfunding of the NHS and social care is having negative consequences for people who need care. These include: delays to surgery without clinical justification, for instance on the pretext of patients being required to lose weight; people with high levels of need being denied NHS Continuing Healthcare in their own home and being forced to move into care homes, including at end of life; and a resurgence in the use of mixed sex wards.
The Patients Association has also acknowledged that the underfunding of the NHS is obliging NHS England to find ways to restrict spending on treatment, most notably with its drive to reduce spending on ‘low value’ medicines, and its proposals to restrict prescriptions for over-the-counter medicines. Without an adequate funding settlement, the NHS will be obliged to seek further ways to restrict treatment for cost reasons.
Simon Stevens will call for increased funding for the NHS – specifically, the additional funding promised by the Vote Leave campaign at the 2016 EU referendum – in a speech to the NHS Providers conference later today.