NHS chief demands more money for health service in Budget as report warns services at 'full stretch'
The head of NHS England has urged Philip Hammond to provide extra cash for the health service as a new report warns the NHS is now at "full stretch".
Simon Stevens warned the current funding outlook for the service was "extremely challenging".
His warning came after a report from the Care Quality Commission released today said that although most patients are currently getting "good, safe care", there are problems coming down the line.
It is just the latest in a string of warnings about the state of the NHS.
Yesterday the head of the NHS Confederation, Niall Dickson, said there was a "greater sense of foreboding" heading into the winter period than last year.
Those concerns were echoed by Mr Stevens, who said his staff were feeling the burden of caring for more and more patients.
"The number of organisations providing care that are good or outstanding has gone up but none of that detracts from the fact that when you think about the extra patients we look after in A&E departments or the extra quick cancer diagnoses we need to offer, we’ve got a system that really is, as they describe, ‘full’ – and I think that’s how it feels from the point of view of front line nurses, doctors and therapists," he told the Health Select Committee this afternoon.
And he appeared to make a direct plea to Chancellor Philip Hammond to use November's Budget to allocate extra cash to the health service.
"Looking forward it’s no secret, I’m not saying anything I haven’t previously said, the currently pencilled in funding for the NHS for next year and the year after looks extremely challenging and if not amended I think it’s going to be very hard for the NHS to do all that is being asked of it over the course of the next year and the year beyond," he told MPs.
"Now, the welcome news is that there are statements the Government have made that they understand this needs to be looked at and so I think it’s just a sort of practical fact to say that the prospects of the kind of measures you’re talking about for next year depend on decisions that are made on 22 November."
In today's report the head of the CQC, Sir Dave Behan, said the system was feeling the toll of extra demand.
“The fact that the quality of care has been maintained in the toughest climate that most can remember is testament to the efforts of frontline staff, managers and leaders," he said.
"Many providers have used our inspection reports to improve, and we have seen improvements in safety in particular, although this area remains a big concern and focus for us. However, as people’s health and care needs change and become more complex, a model of care designed for the 20th century is at full stretch and struggling to cope with 21st century problems."
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