NHS funding ''will depend on economy''
04 October 2012
Future funding for the national health service will have to depend on the state of the economy, the new Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said, raising speculation that this could mean a cut in the NHS budget after the 2015 general election.
While such a suggestion would be likely to spell disaster for the Tory party's election campaign, it could also cause significant problems for Labour should it be elected and the economy continue to worsen because the party has pledged to protect "our cherished NHS" and not implement more cuts.
Seemingly unaware of the damage that being honest and up-front about the NHS could do to his party's chances of being in government after 2015, Hunt said he could not guarantee that the NHS's £110bn budget would be protected.
"I don't think it's possible to make a prediction because there is so much uncertainty in the economic outlook and no one knows what is going to happen with the eurozone," he told The Spectator. "We would also have to have a look at the economic situation. It is something that is very, very difficult to predict."
Hunt also said the government could struggle to find around £5bn a year to cover the cost of the Dilnot proposals on elderly care funding and alternatives are being considered.
"There are other versions that might not be quite so expensive," he said.
Complacency in the teeth of collapse
England is saddled with a health reform agenda which is, at best, irrelevant to the main problems facing the NHS and social care and, at worst, highly damaging to the challenge of focusing upon a growing crisis, claims Keele University's Professor Calum Paton