The Autumn Budget statement made no mention of social care. Neither was there any supplementary information contained in the Budget red book. The Treasury could have used the Budget to pivot focus ahead of the social care Green Paper consultation, now due next summer, around pump-priming additional funding to close the social care funding gap across local communities. Future Care Capital feels that the Chancellor has missed an opportunity to set in motion government action to deal with pressing social care concerns.
It is good news that NHS England will receive an extra £2.8bn over the next three years. The Budget red book confirmed that a significant amount of the £2.8bn will be targeted towards addressing performance targets on both waiting times in Accident and Emergency and after patients have been referred for treatment. An immediate £350m will be available to help this year’s winter pressures.
There will be a review of NHS staff pay. The Chancellor said he is committed to helping fund part of a future pay settlement, subject to negotiations with health unions who are in talks with the Health Secretary overpay structure modernisation. These talks will cover productivity, recruitment and retention in the health service. The Independent NHS Pay Review Body will recommend the level of pay reward after talks have concluded.
The biggest headline for the NHS was the announcement of £10bn capital investment recommended by the review on NHS property and estates. Future Care Capital has looked closely at the Budget red book and it is clear that the Treasury is using a number of sources to help fund this, namely use of proceeds from selling surplus NHS land, buildings and private finance investment (PFI) deals.
The Government has allocated much needed funding to the NHS, but health officials are concerned that the gap hasn’t been closed sufficiently enough to deal with all the major challenges faced by the health service.