RCP president Professor Andrew Goddard comments on the Chancellor’s announcement of government spending plans for the coming year.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has today unveiled plans for the government's spending over the coming year, including details on NHS and social care funding and investment to help the NHS cope with the challenges of the pandemic.
In response to this, Professor Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians said:
“The funding announced today for social care is merely a sticking plaster and is far from what is needed. We look forward to the proposals that government has today promised to bring forward next year. Without a long-term sustainable funding settlement for social care, we cannot provide the integrated, holistic care that our patients need and deserve. It is vital the prime minister delivers on his commitment to fix social care.
“The £2.5bn announced by the Chancellor to ease pressures in the NHS caused by COVID-19 and carry out more checks, scans and procedures is welcome. In June, almost half of medical specialties expected to be working at lower than pre-COVID activity levels for at least a year and in November, 82% of our members reported delays in endoscopy tests for outpatients.
“While this targeted funding will support clinicians to get by in the next 12 months, many of the pressures they face are caused by workforce shortages. There is no quick fix to this. It will require long-term funding commitments, including for a significant expansion of medical school places. The most effective way to reduce NHS backlogs and ease pressure is to increase the workforce that is available to treat patients.”