This article was taken from: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/08/nhs-birthday-present-will-make-lost-ground-bosses-say/
By Henry Bodkin
The £20 billion annual NHS windfall promised by Theresa May is only enough to make up “lost ground”, rather than significantly improve healthcare, hospital managers have said.
A new report predicts that the vast majority of the 70th anniversary “birthday present” will go towards repairing dilapidated hospitals and recovering basic waiting time targets.
Last month the Prime Minister announced the NHS’s £114 billion budget would rise by an average of 3.4 per cent a year, paid for by a “Brexit dividend” and hinted tax rises.
However, the new analysis by NHS Providers, claims the boost will be largely eaten up by efforts to recover basic performance to an acceptable level, instead of driving innovation.
The report finds that achieving the 18-week target for referral to a consultant, a right enshrined in the NHS Constitution, would in itself cost £950 a year for three years.
Meanwhile, ending the logjams in A&E by funding an estimated 7,825 hospital beds would cost another £900 million a year.
Local bosses are also expected to prioritise much of the new cash on building repair works that have been deferred through recent years of lean funding, as well as restoring staffing levels.
One chief executive said he had recently been forced to close his A&E department to new patients because all the lifts capable of transporting beds had broken down.
“A major thunderstorm caused £150,000 damage because water got into a lift mechanism causing it to catch fire,” the manager wrote.
“It takes 20 weeks to fix a 1930s lift.”
NHS Providers’ deputy chief executive, Saffron Cordery, said 3.3 per cent of the 3.4 per cent increase would be required “just for the NHS to stand still”.
“This report highlights the scale of the challenges the NHS faces in recovering the lost ground that has built up over the longest and deepest financial squeeze in NHS history,” he said.
“We would be fooling ourselves to think there are any shortcuts to recovery.”
The June announcement by Theresa May represented the biggest funding boost for the NHS since Gordon Brown imposed a one per cent rise in National Insurance to pay for more spending in the 2002 budget.