Autumn statement leaves NHS in trouble, warns former health secretary Lord Lansley

Former health secretary Lord Lansley has warned that the NHS faces a 'very difficult' period after the government's Autumn statement failed to announce new health and social care funding.

Conservative peer and former health secretary Lord Lansley (Photo: Emilie Sandy)
Conservative peer and former health secretary Lord Lansley (Photo: Emilie Sandy)

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's World at One programme, the former health secretary said that now was the time to put measures in place to support the NHS and social care.

He added that boosting social care provision enough to ease pressure on the health service could have been achieved with relatively little public funding.

Mr Lansley told World at One: 'The possibility of a substantial change in departmental expenditure was pretty unlikely, but not being surprised doesn’t mean I am not disappointed. The next couple of years are going to be very difficult and the time is now for trying to put some measures in place to help health and social care through those next two years.

'In the last parliament a challenging target for savings was set and it was achieved. The trouble is in this parliament what is being asked of the NHS is not only more of the same but even more.

NHS funding

'The rate of savings that has been asked is greater. What we need is to tackle some of the underlying problems. As the NHS themselves have said, actually probably the single biggest contribution that could be made to tackle this underlying problem would be to increase the level of social care provision. I don’t think that necessarily demands a lot of additional public funds.'

In his speech on the Autumn statement on Wednesday, chancellor Philip Hammond repeated the government's pledge to increase NHS funding by £10bn a year by 2020/21 - a figure that has been disputed by experts including Conservative health select committee chair and former GP Dr Sarah Wollaston who say the actual rise is less than half this amount.

NHS leaders widely criticised the Autumn statement as a 'missed opportunity' for health and social care.

In his announcement, Mr Hammond promised to maintain current departmental spending plans, under which NHS spending is protected, with spending rising only with inflation, until the next spending review in 2020 when plans will be reviewed.

In a House of Commons debate following the statement Mr Hammond said NHS trust deficits were ‘not particularly unusual’ and were being managed within the NHS. The Treasury, he said, would continue to keep a ‘very close eye’ on the NHS. A King's Fund report earlier this year found that around half of NHS trusts were predicting a year-end deficit, along with around a quarter of CCGs.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Practices handed one-month opt-out window as revamped network DES unveiled

Practices handed one-month opt-out window as revamped network DES unveiled

NHS England has unveiled a revamped DES package for 2020/21 confirming new targets,...

GPs delivered huge rise in face-to-face consultations in week before NHS England letter

GPs delivered huge rise in face-to-face consultations in week before NHS England letter

GPs delivered a huge increase in face-to-face appointments in the week before NHS...

RCGP facing legal action over stance on assisted dying

RCGP facing legal action over stance on assisted dying

The RCGP is facing legal action over its decision to remain opposed to assisted dying...

Medeconomics Live aims to help practices thrive under the new GP contract

Medeconomics Live aims to help practices thrive under the new GP contract

The one-day, virtual Medeconomics Live conference aims to provide practices with...

GPs face wave of abuse and complaints after NHS England face-to-face appointments claims

GPs face wave of abuse and complaints after NHS England face-to-face appointments claims

GP practices have faced a wave of abuse and complaints after a letter from NHS England...

Government denies plan to make GPs 'gatekeepers' of COVID-19 testing

Government denies plan to make GPs 'gatekeepers' of COVID-19 testing

The government has denied plans to make GPs 'gatekeepers' of the struggling COVID-19...