Chancellor George Osbourne today outlined the coalition Government’s long-awaited spending review in the House of Commons, revealing that total health spending will rise above inflation from £104bn this year to £114bn over the next four years. However, critics suggest this is a 0.1% annual rise once inflation is taken into account.
Despite this increase in the budget, the NHS will still be asked to make savings of £20bn by 2014, which are to be made through efficiency and productivity improvements. One of the planned reinvestments from the proposed savings is applying best practice throughout the NHS in the management of long-term conditions. Diabetes UK welcomes this commitment to people with long-term conditions like diabetes, but more detailed information is needed.
NHS cuts to help with social care budget
The Government will take £1bn from the NHS budget in England to help meet the costs of social care (services which are usually delivered via local authorities). Whilst some people with diabetes will benefit from social care, Diabetes UK is concerned about how the cut will affect other services. An extra £2bn has been promised for social care by the end of the parliament. However, commentators warn this could be cancelled out by inflation and increasing demands from the ageing population.
The increase in NHS funding will be passed on to other UK nations via their allocations, but as health is devolved it will be up to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to decide whether that is spent on the NHS.
Listen to patients to design efficient services
Diabetes UK Healthcare Policy Manager, Gavin Terry said, "We welcome the Government’s commitment to increase spending on the NHS, and support the principle of increasing productivity and improving access to effective services. However, plans to make savings of £20bn by 2014 make it imperative that the NHS involves the very people who will use these services in designing and developing the services they need. This will be the only way to meet the challenges posed by our rising ageing population, the increase in obesity and the rise in the number of people with long-term conditions such as diabetes.
"Only through providing accessible, integrated and effective systems that help people with diabetes to self-manage and work in partnership with their healthcare professional to manage their conditions will people with diabetes get efficient services that truly meet local needs."