Health secretary hints NHS will get more funding from the Treasury

‘I can absolutely confirm that we do need support to meet those inflationary pressures’, admits health secretary Steve Barclay

Rebecca Thomas
Health Correspondent
Wednesday 16 November 2022 20:23 GMT
Economic stability ‘at heart of government agenda’, Rishi Sunak says

Health secretary Steve Barclay has strongly suggested the NHS will receive billions in additional funding from the Treasury in Thursday’s autumn statement to offset inflationary pressures.

Mr Barclay said reports over the weekend claiming he held the view the NHS didn’t need additional money were “completely incorrect”.

“I can absolutely confirm that we do need support to meet those inflationary pressures,” the secretary of state told an NHS conference.

Earlier this year the NHS said it would need £6-7bn to offset the impact of inflationary increases and staff pay on its budget.

He also said it was unrealistic for nurses to be asking for “three times the wage increase as seen in the private sector” and claimed the £9bn costs associated with meeting unions’ requests would impact other areas of health spending such as buildings or technology.

Mr Barclay told the annual NHS Providers conference: “I can assure you that the Treasury wouldn’t allocate any money to the department if the department said it didn’t need it, given the fiscal situation we face. So in short, of course, we face significant financial pressures and inflation is there.

“Having been chief of staff in No 10, having been the minister responsible for persuading the Treasury, having been the minister responsible for the Cabinet Office, is actually a very good understanding as to how best to make the case for the Department of Health and also in terms of our care sector, in terms of making that case to the centre. So, I can absolutely confirm that we do need support to meet those inflationary pressures.”

However, Mr Barclay did not answer questions over whether the NHS would receive the fully funded long-term workforce plan that healthcare leaders have called for.

Earlier this year The Independent revealed the plan, promised by Sajid Javid, has been pushed back due to previous Treasury funding disputes.

Jeremy Hunt, now the chancellor, repeatedly asked for a funded long-term workforce plan when he was chair of the House of Commons health committee.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in