So Jeremy Hunt’s claim that a forthcoming funding increase is the sixth-largest in NHS history is wrong. In fact it is only the 28th-largest in the last 41 years.
Only 13 have been smaller and, on the Tories’ recent record, This Writer wouldn’t be surprised if five of them took place since 2010.
Note also that four of the five biggest increases actually took place under Labour governments.
And oh, look – not only is the Department of Health putting £2 billion less into the service than it is claiming, but it is also lying about that, even when faced with the proof.
Britain’s leading health thinktank has accused Jeremy Hunt of misleading voters by wrongly claiming that the budget increase ministers have given the NHS this year is one of the most generous ever.
The King’s Fund has rejected the health secretary’s claim that the NHS is receiving “the sixth-biggest increase in its history” as inaccurate and a misrepresentation of the service’s perilous financial position.
After analysing the last 41 years of funding data in their research, Prof John Appleby, the fund’s chief economist, and Adam Roberts, of the Health Foundation, found that the NHS real-spend increase of 1.6% is the 28th-largest increase since 1975-76.
The largest year-on-year increase, of 12%, came in 2002-03, while Tony Blair’s Labour government was in office. Using data obtained from the House of Commons library, the five biggest increases since 1975-76 have all been of at least 9%. Four of those came during Blair’s premiership.
The researchers also said it was impossible to compare this year’s extra money to the period between the NHS’s creation in 1948 and 1975-76 as no reliable data for then existed.
In a blog on the King’s Fund website, Appleby and Roberts also dispute ministers’ often-repeated claim that they are giving the NHS in England an extra £3.8bn this year. The true amount is only £1.8bn, they say.
A DH spokesperson said: “We are absolutely committed to the NHS which is why we are investing £10bn directly into the service, including almost £4 billion upfront this year – and crucially, that is at a time that other government departments are facing significant reductions in their budgets. As this research shows, there are a number of ways of analysing funding and comparing spending across years – our calculation is based on a commonsense methodology.”
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