NHS wants ANOTHER £7billion: Health chiefs warn soaring inflation has left them with massive hole in budget as Rishi Sunak rules out cuts and promises ‘to prioritise’ ailing £150bn/year service (as critics call on hospitals to sell £12m worth of ART!)
- The £152billion-per-year health service is seeking an extra £7billion this year due to sky-high inflation
- Officials yesterday confirmed the NHS won’t be part of funding cuts, set to be detailed in a fortnight
- But it will have to overhaul its spending and operate more efficiently in return for having its cash protected
- MPs and campaign groups today called for the health service to sell off its more than £12million art collection
- It comes as NHS faces crises in A&E departments, ambulance services and cancer care — on top of backlogs
Bosses of the ailing NHS want billions more cash to keep key services running this winter as Rishi Sunak rules out cutting its budget as part of the public spending squeeze.
The £152billion-per-year health service is seeking an extra £7billion this year — the equivalent of an extra five per cent of its budget — to counter the effects of sky-high inflation, pay rises and Covid costs.
Finance chiefs have warned that vital cancer, mental health and GP services face being axed unless the Treasury stumps up the cash.
Rishi Sunak’s Government yesterday confirmed the NHS will not fall victim to funding cuts, set to be detailed in a fortnight.
But the health service, described by campaigners as being a ‘blackhole of taxpayer cash’, will have to overhaul its spending and operate more efficiently in return for having its cash protected, Whitehall insiders claim.
It comes as MPs and campaign groups today called for the health service to sell off its £12million art collection to make savings, rather than letting hospitals remain ‘mini art galleries’. The cash it would raise, however, is merely a fraction of what bosses argue is needed.
Hospitals are currently juggling a never-ending storm of crises affecting A&E, ambulances and cancer care — on top of a record backlog, the looming threat of strikes and hyped-up winter pressures due to Covid and flu.
HM Treasury data shows the NHS received £100.4billion in 2010/11 and its budget had grown steadily until 2019. In 2020, the NHS was given £129.7billion of core funding for its usual services, which was topped up with an extra £18billion to help with the pressures from the pandemic. For 2021/22 the Treasury said the health service is set to receive £136.1billion pounds of core funding, as well as £3billion to help with the Covid recovery
The NHS waiting list for routine operations has breached 7million for the first time ever. This includes almost 390,000 patients who’ve been forced to wait over a year for treatment
Rishi Sunak (left) told a Cabinet meeting yesterday that while other departments should expect cuts, the Government will ‘always support’ the NHS, which will ‘continue to be prioritised’
WHAT DOES THE LATEST NHS PERFORMANCE DATA SHOW?
More than 7million people in England were waiting for routine NHS ops in August such as hip and knee replacements.
Leading experts fear the ‘grim milestone’ — the equivalent of one in eight people — will only get topped as the pressures of winter, Covid and flu kick in.
The backlog is up from 6.8million one month earlier and marks the highest total since NHS records began in 2007. Almost 390,000 patients have been forced to endure year-long waits for their treatment, often while in serious pain.
Separate analysis suggests the NHS is carrying out fewer operations and treatments than before the pandemic, despite pledges to shrink the ever-growing
Mr Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, a former Health Secretary, have warned there are ‘difficult decisions’ ahead to address a £50billion deficit in public finances.
In an Autumn statement on November 17, they are set to detail how public spending will be slashed AND what tax rises will be imposed on British households.
But the Prime Minister told a Cabinet meeting yesterday that, while other departments should expect cuts, No10 will ‘always support’ the NHS and it will ‘continue to be prioritised’.
In return, the health service, which is expected to see its budget hit £162billion by 2024, will reportedly be told to find ‘efficiencies and reforms’ to prove it won’t waste any extra cash, a Treasury source told The Telegraph.
It comes as the NHS backlog in England stands at a record 7million, latest data for August shows. It equates to one in eight people queuing for treatment, often in pain and with condition that can deteriorate over time.
The health service’s own modelling for the backlog, leaked in February, revealed it won’t stop growing until it hits 10.7million in early 2024.
However, Cabinet ministers are said to be concerned that the queue for treatment could still be growing in 2025, around the time of the next general election.
The NHS recovery plan, detailed by ex-Health Secretary Sajid Javid in February, set out that the backlog was set to be shrinking by 2024, while one year waits would be abolished by 2025.
Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England, told executives last month that the NHS funding situation is a ‘f****** nightmare’.
Health bosses earlier this month warned the NHS has a £7billion shortfall in cash for the next financial year, which is set to reach £21billion by 2024.
As a result, some ambulances are lined-up outside of hospitals for hours, meaning fewer are available to respond to emergency calls.
Officials told a NHS meeting that there was no room to cut costs without turning to core services, such as cancer, mental health and primary care — which medics and campaigners warn are already cash-strapped.
But MPs and campaigners have suggested the NHS should see how it can boost funds itself, rather than demanding more cash.
A Freedom of Information Request by the Taxpayers’ Alliance today revealed the NHS has millions of pounds worth of art that could be sold off to boost cash levels.
Ambulances took an average of 47 minutes and 59 seconds to respond to category two calls , such as burns, epilepsy and strokes. This is more than twice as long as the 18 minute target
A&E waits have also breached a record, with the number of patients facing 12-hour waits exceeding 30,000
An analysis of NHS data shows the health service is carrying out fewer operations and treatments than the pre-pandemic average
While the NHS performed a record number of cancer checks, the health service continued to fail to hit targets to start treatment for the disease within two months of an urgent referral
The data revealed that the NHS has 20,000 works of art, worth an estimated £12million. NHS trusts in Fife (2,044 pieces), the Isle of Wight (1,992) and Cambridge (1,573) hold the biggest collections.
It is unclear which artwork trusts own but many pieces were donated for the benefit of patients so cannot be sold.
Sir Christopher Chope, Tory MP for Christchurch in Dorset, told The Telegraph that the NHS should ‘look at where they can make savings’ rather than ‘looking at their works of art’.
John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said ‘hospitals are turning into mini art galleries’.
Meanwhile, a cap on social care costs, announced by Boris Johnson last September, is expected to be delayed until after the next election as part of public spending cuts.
Due to come into effect next October, it was going set a £86,000 limit on the people had to spend on social care before local authorities took over their bill.
But is now expected to be pushed back by at least one year to save £1billion annually.
However, the NHS and social care will still get a £13billion uplift, which was supposed to be funded by a National Insurance rise but is now expected to be supported through other taxes.
It comes as the crippled health service performance has stooped to record lows in recent months.
NHS hospitals are currently clogged by healthy patients who cannot be discharged due to a lack of social care staff to take over their care. Three in five patients are being kept on wards longer than they need to be.
This so-called bed blocking crisis is fuelling sluggish emergency care, with too few hospital beds available to house sick people turning up at A&E and 999 callers who are stuck in the back of ambulances.
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