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Government asks NHS to ‘cut core funding’ by £500m

NHS England must find hundreds of millions of pounds in last-minute savings to pay for ongoing covid staff tests, it has been revealed

NHSE chief financial officer Julian Kelly told a meeting of NHS England’s board: “We have been asked to see if we can cut core NHS funding - at the moment that is probably to the tune of £500m.” Mr Kelly said achieving this would likely involve “slowing down” some transformation programmes and ambitions in the Long Term Plan.

He added that rising inflation could add an extra £1bn in financial pressure, telling the board “we’re going to have to look at what that means for our ability to deliver NHS goals in the round.”

It was reported in February that Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were at loggerheads over whether the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) should receive additional funding for covid testing on top of the health service’s spending envelope. The row is said to have led to a delay in plans to scrap all remaining virus-related restrictions.

The DHSC reduced its ask for extra cash down from £5bn to an eventual £1.8bn but even this lower sum was rejected by the Treasury, according to reports. This means continuing staff testing will have to paid for out of the existing NHS budget.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 24 March 2022


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