Commenting on today's Budget, Anita Charlesworth, Director of Research and Economics at the Health Foundation, said: ‘The level and speed of extra funding announced by the Chancellor today has exceeded expectations. The NHS was staring over a precipice - this is an important step away from the edge. The much needed £350m of immediate spending will go some way to help the NHS to meet emergency pressures this winter.

‘However, even with today’s announced investment, the NHS will be under considerable pressure. The extra capital and day to day funding amounts to around half of the £4bn of spending pressures facing the service next year. The NHS is outperforming the wider economy in productivity improvements, but will still face big challenges, not least a waiting list of four million people.

‘The Chancellor has announced an extra £10bn in capital funding over the course of this parliament. This is much needed to start clearing the £5.6bn maintenance backlog and allow essential improvements to equipment and ageing infrastructure. But the total capital funding announced today relies on a large amount of asset sales and private funding, with less than half coming from extra Treasury funding.

‘The NHS frequently relies on the hard work of its staff. Today’s announcement of additional funds for the next pay settlement for Agenda for Change staff - mostly nurses - is a positive move, though will be dependent on further productivity improvements. However, any pay rise for doctors and GPs is not covered by this and would have to come out of NHS budgets.'

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