It is understood that health spending will not be cut by the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt MP, in his Autumn Statement, but the NHS and DHSC do need to find efficiencies to alleviate the fiscal black hole plaguing the Government. Cabinet Ministers have also allegedly been told that underperforming trusts are set for a programme of reform.
The new Health and Social Care Secretary, Steve Barclay, is said to be alarmed by the variance in quality of service across many aspects of the NHS, which is said to be a key area of focus for him in the coming months. PM Rishi Sunak has already publicly admitted that the NHS faces an “extremely challenging” winter.
The NHS, despite health spending being protected, will likely still have to make cuts due to the rise in inflation which is estimated take a sizeable chunk — £7billiion – out of the NHS budget. Julian Kelly, the NHS finance chief, stated that they would “have to completely revisit investment in cancer, mental health, primary care [and] diagnostic capacity” unless the Treasury increased its funding.
These expected extra savings are in addition to the £12bn in “efficiency savings” the NHS has already committed to making between this year and 2024-25.