What does that teach us?
None of these people are our friends – that’s what.
George Osborne and the NHS boss Simon Stevens are at loggerheads because the chancellor has rejected pleas to increase the health service’s budget by £4bn next year, despite fears that patient care could suffer if the money is not forthcoming.
The row between the Treasury and NHS England before next week’s spending review has reached such a critical point that David Cameron may have to step in and make the final decision, NHS sources say.
The Guardian understands that Stevens, NHS England’s chief executive, has been rebuffed in his protracted efforts to persuade Osborne to hand the service the £4bn he believes is the minimum it needs to press ahead with transforming how it provides care.
The chancellor is understood to have offered Stevens only about £2bn, and is also understood to believe that any more than that is unrealistic and unaffordable in such a tight spending round and that the NHS needs to get its fast-crumbling finances in order to help balance its books.
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