Former head of civil service Bob Kerslake quits NHS role over government under-funding

Posted On: 
10th December 2017

A former head of the civil service has quit a top NHS job in protest at government under-funding.

Sir Bob Kerslake meets the Queen in 2013.
Credit: 
PA Images

Sir Bob Kerslake said he was standing down as chair of the Kings College NHS Trust because ministers were "unrealistic about the scale of the challenge" facing the health service.

His resignation is a blow for Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who has denied claims that the Government is starving the NHS of resources.

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Sir Bob, who was head of the civl service from 2012 until 2015, announced his decision on Twitter.

His resignation comes barely two weeks weeks after Chancellor Philip Hammond announced he was giving the NHS an "exceptional" £2.8bn over the next three years to help NHS trusts make ends meet. That means the NHS will receive an extra £3.75bn in total next year, and an additional £7.5bn by 2018/19.

However, experts have warned that is still not enough to fill the health service's financial black hole.

Opposition parties condemned ministers over Sir Bob's departure.

Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth said: "This is embarrassing for the Government and is evidence from a heavily respected figure on the frontline that the Budget utterly failed to deliver for the NHS and that seven years of underfunding is impacting on patients in unacceptable ways."

Lib Dem health spokesman Norman Lamb said: "Bob Kerslake felt he had no choice but to resign. He is the latest senior, highly credible person warning of the disastrous financial situation facing the NHS due to the Government's abject neglect. We can't afford to lose good people, but his is an important and principled stand. 

"The Government must take this as a final warning. The Liberal Democrats have been honest with the public and called for a penny on income tax to raise the money needed to keep the NHS and care system running.  The Government must stop putting its head in the sand and provide the funding the NHS and social care needs."