Experts respond to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement for a £1.8 million NHS cash injection, highlighting the desperate need for funding to improve patient care
Today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a £1.8 billion cash injection for the UK’s public health system, seeking to honour his Brexit pledges as he pushes through the country’s departure from the European Union.
The extra funding for the NHS will mean “more beds, new wards, and extra life-saving equipment to ensure patients continue to receive world-class care,” Johnson said in a statement.
However, last year nearly £130 billion was spent on the NHS budget, leaving this promise as a 1.3% increase in total funding. A 2014 report found that the late diagnosis of just four common cancers is costing the NHS an extra £150 million in treatment costs. Overall, late diagnosis is a major driver of NHS cancer treatment costs, the report found.
Mental health treatment is also found to be a huge cost to the NHS. In the years of 2016 and 2017, NHS England spent £11.6million on mental health. This increases when you look at the effects of drug and alcohol abuse. The National Treatment Agency found that the cost to the NHS of treating drug misuse was £500 million annually.
Wesley Baker, CEO of ANCON Medical comments:
“The Prime Minister’s promise to provide this extra funding is positive step for the NHS and will likely be welcomed with open arms. However, it is well known that extra funding cannot go on indefinitely.
“With this is mind there is a clear and present need for cutting-edge technologies that are relatively inexpensive to use and can provide an accurate diagnosis to help bring costs down and survival rates up. Diagnosis and the costs associated when it goes wrong is a hugely significant part of the NHS budget. Costly and complex diagnostic techniques such as MRI and CT scans create a huge financial burden which is likely to continue to rise and fuelling the demand for further funding increases.”
Responding to promises made by new Prime Minister Boris Johnson in The Sunday Times, Danny Mortimer, deputy chief executive of the NHS Confederation and chief executive of NHS Employers, said:
“The Prime Minister’s promise of another £1.8 billion for the health service to buy vital new equipment and upgrades of facilities is clearly welcome. This money is desperately needed to modernise services and working environments and improve the quality and efficiency of patient care.
“Spending on NHS buildings, equipment and digital technology is half the OECD average and woefully inadequate. There is a huge logjam of cases for investment in the NHS and there are many old buildings that cannot be adapted to deliver modern patient care.
“We support greater flexibilities to allow all members of the NHS Pension Scheme to control the value of their pension growth. We believe this will help improve capacity and patient care and we hope the Prime Minister will make rapid moves in this direction. The NHS Confederation and our members await the details of the new proposals with interest and also ask that his government commit to the reform of the taxation system applied to pensions.
“Promises to address the social care crisis are welcome but the Prime Minister’s words will be meaningless without real, concrete action to back them up. Nothing less than a sustainable, long-term funding settlement for social care in England will do. We cannot continue as we have been, and we hope the Prime Minister will follow through on this commitment.”
Social care shame as Johnson ‘starts work’
Dr Charles Armitage, CEO & Founder, Florence said:
“Don’t get me wrong-a £1.8 billion cash boost for our beleaguered NHS is not to be sniffed at – but I’m not hanging out the bunting just yet. As an ex-NHS doctor turned tech for good entrepreneur trying to tackle to social care staffing crisis, I can confidently say that health and social care are inextricably interdependent. This announcement has the feeling of a pre-election patch up job – plugging the gaps in one will only serve to see a bigger leak spring elsewhere.
“It’s concerning to hear Mr Johnson say that the government is only just ‘starting work’ on tackling the injustice of social care – we’ve been waiting a long time for the Social Care Green Paper and still nothing in sight. I hope that Johnson’s promise to fix social care funding comes from a genuine desire to improve the system. We must achieve parity between health and social care if we want to create a sustainable solution for everyone.”
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