A report by the parliament’s spending watchdog has warned of ‘persistent financial distress’ in a significant number of acute hospital trusts [Image: Peter Byrne/PA].

Where has all the money gone?

We’re not in recession; independent figures show GDP is higher now than it was before the crash so why is the NHS in crisis?

Here’s your proof: GDP has risen:

160315GDPgrowth

But NHS spending as a percentage of GDP has dropped:

160315NHS spending160315NHS england spending

Real spending is not a useful indicator due to inflation and the fact that new treatments and procedures tend to be expensive.

The Conservative Government’s claims – about the reasons the NHS is facing pressure and the measures being taken to relieve it – don’t make sense in this context.

It simply needs to bring its own funding level back up to scratch.

The trouble is, the NHS isn’t the only UK organisation facing a funding ‘black hole’.

According to some commentators, George Osborne is facing an £18 billion shortfall.

That’s what happens if you don’t have a plan for investment, like Labour’s John McDonnell.

But it means the NHS will have to get in the queue for any scraps left after Osborne has finished cutting taxes for the rich.

The NHS in England lacks a convincing plan to plug a £22bn “black hole” in funding within five years, according to parliament’s spending watchdog.

A significant number of acute hospital trusts are in “serious and persistent financial distress”, there is a “spiralling” trend of increased deficits and the current payment system is “not fit for purpose”, the public accounts committee said.

A report published on Tuesday found that reliance on agency staff, sometimes at “rip off” costs, had contributed to the dire situation and NHS trusts were also trying to meet unrealistic savings targets.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “We know some parts of the NHS are under pressure due to our ageing population, but we disagree with the claim that we are not acting quickly enough.

“We are intensively supporting challenged trusts to improve finances, while clamping down on rip off staffing agencies and helping hospitals become more efficient.”

Source: NHS struggling to plug a £22bn funding ‘black hole’, says report | Society | The Guardian

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