Budget 2015: George Osborne promises £8bn more annual funding for NHS by 2020

However the Chancellor also admitted that £22bn in efficiency cuts required of the NHS by that date would be 'very challenging'

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Indy Lifestyle Online

The NHS is the government’s “priority”, George Osborne has said, as he confirmed that the health service will receive the £8bn more in annual funding by 2020 promised before the election.

However, the Chancellor admitted that £22bn in efficiency cuts required of the NHS in England by that date would be “very challenging”.

Critics have called the savings “impossible” without cuts to frontline NHS services, and warned that £8bn will not be enough to enable the health service to keep up with growing demand, let alone achieving the Government’s plans for enhanced services at weekends. 

 

Some of the savings will likely come from further pay restraint for NHS staff, with Mr Osborne confirming that public sector pay increases would be capped at one per cent for four years.

The Chancellor said: “Public spending should reflect public priorities and we have to make choices. Our priority is the National Health Service.

We will fund fully the plan the NHS has itself produced for its future, the Stevens Plan. That plan requires very challenging efficiency savings across the health service that must be found.”

Dr Mark Porter, chair doctors’ union the British Medical Association, said: “The government needs to be clear about how it will meet the need for additional investment to achieve those efficiencies, which many predict will be impossible to deliver without further cuts to services.”

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