Andy Burnham tries to allay NHS funding fears

Newly-appointed Health Secretary Andy Burnham today moved to allay fears about the future funding of the NHS amid predictions of a £15 billion cash shortfall over the next decade.

Mr Burnham admitted that the health service would face a "challenge" over the next five to 10 years but said raising concerns of closures or job cuts was "completely premature".



"The (NHS) Confederation are right to say that we have seen a decade where health spending here has caught up to the European average, and obviously it won't continue to grow at the same rate in the next period, so they are right to say let us plan, we have got time to plan, and we have got time to get this right," he told BBC Breakfast.



"But I think people can see now that Labour have looked after the NHS in Government and will carry on doing so."



He added: "I think it would be wrong to scare people, that there are big changes coming, that there are cuts and closures, that is not the case with this Government, we have always looked after the NHS. We have said, and the Prime Minister has said, we will carry on increasing health spending."



His remarks came as the NHS Confederation, representing 95% of all NHS organisations, said the next two years were "tough but manageable" but said "the position beyond 2010/11 is very different and extremely challenging".



Its report - Dealing with the downturn: The greatest ever leadership challenge for the NHS? - said the service should expect a funding shortfall of £15 billion in real terms due to the impact of the recession and rising costs.



"With little or no cash increase, from 2011/12 the NHS will need to plan for real terms funding to fall by 2.5-3% per annum," the study said.



"This is equivalent to a cut of between £8-10 billion over the next Comprehensive Spending Review and up to £15 billion over five years."









The report called for immediate action if the service is to continue to keep to its founding principles of providing free care to everyone at the point of need.

It warned against "diluting" the quality of patient care and extending waiting lists like in the past, or making cuts to training budgets.



It said a solution to this crisis lies in NHS leaders embracing innovation, change and improving efficiency.



NHS Confederation chief executive Steve Barnett said: "With little or no cash increase from 2011/12 the NHS has to prepare itself for real-terms reductions in what it can afford to do and needs to make the hard decisions about which programmes to fund, how to reward staff and how to reorganise services now.



"If it does not, then the mistakes of the past could be repeated and shortages in funding will translate to the kind of across-the-board cuts which could see waiting lists lengthen, standards fall and dissatisfaction with the service grow among patients and staff.



"The NHS needs to take the opportunity to find efficiencies and savings - I believe it has the people, the ideas and the capacity to meet this challenge but we should be under no illusions of the size of the task ahead."



Director of policy Nigel Edwards, who wrote the report, added: "It is really important that the significant improvements that have been made in the NHS are not lost through short-term cuts and crude approaches to cost control.



"Quality improvements through greater efficiency and redesigning services can provide the budget savings necessary to navigate this crisis."



The NHS budget in 2009/10 stands at £102.7 billion - a 7.5% real terms increase on the previous year, according to the Department of Health.



Next year, the budget will be £105.8 billion, which it said was a 1.6% increase in real terms.



Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA), said: "The imminent funding crisis could be very dangerous for the NHS, and has the potential to seriously threaten patient services.



"We agree with the NHS Confederation that difficult choices will have to be made.



"But we also believe that one of the most effective ways to reduce the adverse impact on NHS funding would be to reverse the policy of encouraging a market in healthcare in the English NHS.



"Too much money that could have been spent on frontline patient care has been wasted on poor value deals with commercial providers and the bureaucratic costs of administering the market in the NHS."

News
Alan Bennett has criticised the “repellent” reality shows which dominate our screens
tvBut he does like Stewart Lee
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
i100
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

    £300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

    High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

    £70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

    Teaching Assistant

    £50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

    Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

    Day In a Page

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits