Lib Dems urge George Osborne to approve an emergency £2bn cash injection for NHS

 

Senior Liberal Democrats are calling for Chancellor George Osborne to approve an emergency £2bn injection into the NHS to avert a funding crisis in hospitals next year.

They argue the extra money is essential to cope with the rapid ageing of the population and to afford expensive new drugs and treatments for chronic conditions.

Fears have been growing of a financial black hole in the £100bn annual budget for the NHS in England, although the Department of Health insists it can meet the extra demands from a continuing programme of savings.

But Lib Dem sources said they did not share the department’s optimism and urged the Chancellor to act in his Autumn Statement in November or December - the last before the general election - in which he will set out spending plans for the next financial year.

“The NHS has done amazingly well over the last four years to survive in the middle of tight spending and growing demand on the NHS, but there is a shortfall in 2015-16,” said a source.

“If there is chaos in the NHS four months before the [May] election, we will be in a position where we can be put under huge pressure by NHS managers who realise they have leverage over us. But then we would look reactive.

“If we act now, we can look proactive. It will even see the electorate agree with us about something.”

It is understood that Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, will meet party colleagues shortly to discuss the possible intervention.

Supporters of the move believe the Conservatives could try to use it against them as evidence of Lib Dem profligacy, but insist it would be supported by the voters.

“All the indicators are pointing in the wrong direction,” said a senior party figure. “We have an ageing population, new medicines are developed all the time and we have to deal with more and more lifestyle diseases. It is a problem faced by all western economies.”

The NHS budget has risen since 2010 in line with inflation rather than in response to pressures such as demographic changes and steep rises in the drugs bill. The service is also coping with the rising cost of staff pensions.

Any move to find an extra £2bn would require cuts elsewhere in Whitehall or tax rises because of the Coalition’s deficit reduction rules.

Today it emerged that Jane Ellison, the Public Heath Minister, told a private meeting of the Tory Reform Group that the Government’s reforms meant it could no longer exert much day-to-day control over the NHS.  She said it was “a bit like being on a hire wire without a net at times.”

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicHunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original  manuscripts
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
lifeAiming to show breasts in a non-sexual way for cancer awareness
New Articles
i100... while following the referendum
New Articles
i100... with this review
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special
tvNick Frost, Natalie Gumede and Michael Troughton step up
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer, Douglas Booth and Jack Farthing in ‘The Riot Club’
filmReview: Sheer nastiness of Riot Club takes you aback
Arts and Entertainment
tvBut something’s not quite right
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week