Wednesday November 25th
Following the Chancellor's Autumn Statement and the Spending Review, the Hospital Consultants & Specialists Association has issued the following statement:
HCSA President Professor John Schofield said: "Hospital consultants and other senior hospital doctors working on the front line will warmly welcome news of an additional £3.8 billion in above-inflation funding pledged by the government for the NHS.
"They are willing to work with policy-makers to deliver safe seven-day services, but this means sufficient staffing, adequate remuneration to retain and attract senior doctors and a workforce that is sufficiently rested and supported to deliver excellent care to patients.
"Existing budgetary squeezes in our hospitals have placed hospital consultants and doctors in training under growing pressure, with rising caseloads pushing many of our members towards a point where they fear the quality and safety of care may be at risk.
"So while this front-loading of additional funds is good news, it should be remembered that the original figure of £8bn additional real-terms funding a year cited by NHS England was predicated on making £22bn in efficiency savings - something that key stakeholders now say is unlikely.
"In order to deliver the world-class, seven-day service which the government has pledged to do, spending plans must be carefully reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure that the system as a whole receives sufficient financial support during a period of massive innovation and change as set out in Sir Simon Steven’s Five Year Forward View.
"That requires a joined-up approach where social, psychiatric and community care are also fully funded, not least to eliminate the problem of delayed discharge that has at times caused serious difficulties in our hospitals.
"We also note that the overall Department of Health budget is projected to fall by a sizeable percentage. We fear that any reduction in central funding that impacts on areas such as public health education, training or social care may represent a short term cost-saving but will only increase the medium and long-term pressures on NHS hospitals and the staff who work in them."
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