NHS Confederation and NHS Employers comment on Budget 2013's impact on health service

Dean Royles

20 / 3 / 2013 Midnight

Welcoming the Chancellor's confirmation that the government will protect spending on health, the NHS Confederation warned that other aspects of Budget 2013 will nevertheless have major impact on the health service.

NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar said:

"We welcome the Chancellor's decision to continue to protect the health service from any reduction in budget. NHS finances are under more pressure than ever, and demand for services is continually rising. 

"The NHS has never operated in isolation - nor should it - and many aspects of today's Budget are likely to increase pressure on the NHS. If demands on local authorities produce a reduction in the services which help people maintain an independent healthy lifestyle, more people will end up in crisis, either needing health care in an emergency or having already passed the point where they can be helped to regain their health and independence. That isn't good for the sustainability of the NHS, but it is even worse for the individuals affected and their families. And while we welcome the decision to bring forward implementation of social care funding reforms, 2016 is still three years away. Immediate action to prevent the wheels falling off is needed now, in addition to radical reform in the future." 

Dean Royles, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation, said: 

"Even limited to one per cent, the public sector pay increase announced by George Osborne this afternoon will add in the region of £500 million to NHS annual expenditure when applied across all NHS staff. This is the equivalent of around 15,000 new nurses.

"Despite a headline pay freeze, most NHS staff have been receiving incremental pay increases of around three per cent as they climb up through their pay bands. The salary rise announced by the Government last week and confirmed in today's Budget is in addition to these increases. Employers want to do everything they can to support staff and build morale, and I know that pay is a big factor in this, but our biggest priorities must be maintaining and improving quality patient care and staff job security, both of which depend on sustainable pay bills.

"We need to engage with our staff and unions to explore how we can come out of a period of pay restraint in a sustainable way, recognising the significant contribution of our staff to delivering high quality patient care. This has to be better than waiting for annual announcements around public sector pay policy."

Notes to Editors

Watch our 30 second animation explaining the financial challenge facing the NHS. 

The NHS Confederation represents all organisations that commission and provide NHS services. It is the only membership body to bring together and speak on behalf of the whole of the NHS. We help the NHS to guarantee high standards of care for patients and best value for taxpayers by representing our members and working together with our health and social care partners.

We make sense of the whole health system, influence health policy and deliver industry-wide support functions for the NHS.

Follow the NHS Confederation press office on Twitter @NHSConfed_Press

A full list of NHS Confederation press releases and statements can be accessed on our media page

The NHS Employers organisation is the recognised body for employers in the NHS, supporting them to put patients first. Seewww.nhsemployers.org for more information.

Follow NHS Employers on Twitter at @nhsemployers or follow Dean Royles, director of the NHS Employers organisation, at @NHSE_Dean.

Contact Francesca Reville on 020 77998633 or Georgie Agass on 020 7799 8637. For out of hours media enquiries, please call the Duty Press Officer on 07880 500726.

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