Responding to today’s Spending Review, the Health Foundation’s Director of Research and REAL Centre, Anita Charlesworth said:
'The government's commitment to ensuring the NHS receives the funding it needs to meet the direct costs of COVID-19 is welcome. The Chancellor also recognised the major challenges of waiting times and increased demand for mental health services as a result of the pandemic.
'But the funding announced doesn’t match the scale of the challenge. The Spending Review doesn't provide enough next year to give hospitals the resources they need to meet the challenges of delivering care in the face of social distancing and heightened infection control. As a result, there will be a total shortfall for NHS England of around £6bn next year.
'The Spending Review misses a golden opportunity to tackle longstanding staffing shortages which left the health system so vulnerable in the face of a pandemic. It provides insufficient funding to train as many doctors and nurses as we will need.
'Adult social care is set to receive only the bare minimum needed to meet rising demand for services. There is no investment to allow improvement of the current threadbare safety net of social care or to make the system fairer. Government has unfortunately ducked reform again. In the context of wartime-like spending to tackle the pandemic, the investment needed in social care is surely affordable.
'It is also disappointing to see there will be no progress next year towards rebuilding public health following years of cuts and given the clear need to invest in a healthier future. If the Chancellor is serious about making Britain ‘stronger, healthier and happier’ then today’s Spending Review can only be the beginning.'
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