Spring Budget 2017: Chancellor delivers £2.4bn lifeline for health and social care, but is it sustainable?

£2.4bn lifeline for health and social care

Jason Parker, Head of Health, KPMG in the UK, comments on the Spring Budget 2017.

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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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KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 13,500 partners and staff.  The UK firm recorded a revenue of £2.07 billion in the year ended 30 September 2016. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 152 countries and has 189,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity.  Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

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