Concerns that funding increase is not enough
The Prime Minister Theresa May has announced a 3.4% average annual rise in NHS funding to 2023.
She admitted that the public would pay more, but promised this would be done in a ‘fair and balanced’ way.
The government also claims that economic growth and a Brexit dividend will help cover the spending increase, which will see NHS England's budget increase by £20bn by 2023.
Gill Walton, RCM chief executive, said it was welcome news, but questioned whether it will be enough to meet rising demand and to improve services.
She said: ‘Specifically, the RCM will be seeking precise clarification that the plan for spending by NHS England of 3.4% extra over five years will meet existing policy priorities for maternity services.’
These ambitious plans include 3000 more midwives in the NHS in England by 2021, maternity safety and mental health initiatives and Better Births, the government’s plan for maternity transformation in England.
Gill continued: ‘With most respected commentators and economists arguing for at least a 4% increase over a longer time period, we have major concerns that 3.4% will simply not be enough to meet the rising demands on the NHS or ensure further development of services.
‘The government needs to be honest and upfront with the people now about how these plans will be paid for. It remains to be seen how the investment in the NHS will be funded.’
‘Far more detail on training, public health and social care is essential as these critical areas impact so crucially on the ability of the NHS to deliver. These areas are not included in this announcement and that is a concern.’
The plan does not include parts of the wider health budget – including training, stop-smoking clinics and other preventative services.
The average annual rise since the foundation of the NHS in 1948 is 3.7%.