RCP calls Budget 2018 'one step forward, two steps back' for NHS

RCP clinical vice president Professor David Oliver outlines the RCP's response to UK chancellor Philip Hammond's budget.

Professor Oliver said: 

The chancellor has taken one step forward and two steps back with today’s budget. He has confirmed a very welcome extra £20.5 billion for the NHS over the next 5 years, but he hasn’t done the two things necessary to enable the health service to cope with increasing demand year on year.

Nowhere was funding for public health mentioned in today’s budget, yet it is only by helping to keep people healthy that we can manage increasing pressures upon the NHS.

Professor David Oliver, RCP clinical vice president

Yes, councils will get an extra £700 million to care for the elderly and those with disabilities and we’re pleased that the chancellor heeded our calls for extra funding, but this can only go a small way to alleviating the pressures placed upon the NHS by having to care for people in hospital who would be better looked after in the community.

Nowhere was funding for public health mentioned in today’s budget, yet it is only by helping to keep people healthy that we can manage increasing pressures upon the NHS and ensure that workloads are manageable for doctors and other staff, remembering that the extra £20.5 billion does not include training and workforce.

Key budget points for health in England

  • extra £20.5 billion for the NHS over the next 5 years
  • extra £2 billion (minimum) per year for mental health services
  • new mental health crisis centre, providing support in every accident and emergency unit in the country
  • extra £700 million for councils, for care for the elderly and those with disabilities
  • £10m for air ambulances.