Jason Parker, Head of Health, KPMG in the UK, comments on the Spring Budget 2017.
The Chancellor has delivered a lifeline for health and social care today, by committing to speed up the hospital discharge of elderly patients, reducing dangerous waiting times in A&E, and funding to progress Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs).
Jason Parker, Head of Health, at KPMG says: “The Chancellor made the right noises today. The £2bn promised to social care, which should speed up appropriate discharge of elderly patients, will be a relief to the NHS to some extent, and I don’t think we could realistically have expected more. But the Chancellor did not outline where the money would be spent. Whilst the £2bn is welcome, NHS finances remain under strain.
“The announcement of a £100m investment to roll out GP triage to reduce waiting times in A&E is in my view well overdue, and has already proven to be successful in hospitals across the country over the past decade. However, it’s disappointing that the Chancellor failed to announce measures on wider prevention – to keep people out of A&E in the first place. Prevention is about much more than smoking cessation schemes.
“The £325m injection to progress the STPs, which we had hoped would be announced in the Autumn Statement, will be vital to help the programme move from planning to the reality of difficult execution. My concern however with the Chancellor’s promises, is that this funding will quickly be absorbed when spread across 44 STPs. But on the upside, the funding does show continued government support to STPs, so the programme is unlikely to be shelved.”
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