While most of the focus in the aftermath of the Autumn Budget has fallen on the abolition of stamp duty for first time buyers purchasing property up to £300,000; there were plenty of other matters being dealt with. One of the most important topics in present day is the NHS and Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond took the opportunity to salute the “hardworking staff” of the organisation while stating that “we will always back the NHS”.
This is always pleasing to hear but of course, many people no longer want to hear any talk about the NHS, these folk want to see action. There is no denying that the NHS is under severe pressure at the moment, something which the Chancellor admitted and this led into sums of money being promised to the organisation.
Additional funding will be provided
It was announced that additional resource funding of close to £3bn was being provided to the NHS in England. £350m of this sum would be made available for this winter, £1.6bn would be provided in 2018 and 2019 and the remainder of this sum of money would be provided in 2020. The Chancellor also addressed the issue of pay rises and said that this be provided once contract negotiations have been brought to a close.
Mind you, the promise of £350m will feel like a sting in the tail when people think back to some of the promises made in the run-up to the European Union referendum. This was the sum of money plastered on the side of a big red bus, and it was a huge factor in many people voting to Leave as opposed to Remain.
However, in the weeks building to the Budget, the Chief Executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, was making a claim for that cash, and it is certainly money that should be welcomed.
There should be optimism surrounding this news
On the surface, this was positive news for the NHS and there is certainly cause for optimism in these findings. However, as with everything that the government undertakes, there will be opposition and different viewpoints. The Health Service Journal has pointed out that this money lies outside of the Spending Review process, so should not be seen as something that will naturally occur in a repeated manner.
There have also been questions raised about the additional £10 billion of funding for new capital. Again, this is a welcome amount of money but there are concerns over where this money will come from and whether it will require current NHS estate to be sold off to raise these funds. This means that it will likely be a period of time before the full benefit or impact of the Autumn Budget will be known.
At Atlantis Medical, we are delighted to see the importance of the NHS being recognised. Yes, the country faces a number of problems at this point in time, some of which will take a lot of time and money to resolve but the NHS should be near the top of any list of priorities when it comes to making Britain great again.