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25.07.18

Hancock won’t rule out cuts to previous Hunt commitments, considers ringfencing transformation

The health secretary has not yet evaluated whether previous NHS commitments from predecessor Jeremy Hunt will fit into his future plan, arguing you have to spend the money “as far as possible.”

Speaking to MPs at the Health Select Committee today, Matt Hancock said previous commitments from Hunt such as the pledge to reduce waiting times and grant more financial stability to struggling trusts have not been ruled out because the long-term spending plan for all health services has not been finalised.

He said: “You’ve got to seek to do all that you can and then as you develop the plan you test that against what is realistic. We are at the early stages of the development of that.

“We have to spend the money as far as possible but the long-term plan needs to be realistic and deliverable.”

The new health secretary also noted that the government is considering ringfencing cash for the transformation sector: “I’m absolutely determined that the money for the transformation is made available. Since the goal of the long-term plan is to ensure a sustainable future for the NHS, you can’t do that without transformation.

“£487m for transformation is all transformation funding and I’m determined to ensure that the long-term plan requires transformation to continue to be available through the period, not simply spending the extra £20bn on ticking over as we are because that is not a sustainable future for the NHS.”

Hancock also called for viewpoints from the frontline regarding the Department of Health and Social Care’s future long-term spending fund.

He noted: “Hearing voices from the front line is very important. NHS England is putting together a skeleton outline of the items which need to be hit. I will come forward in September/October on the three priorities that I have set out—workforce, technology and prevention.

“These will feed into the key decisions that will be taken in October and November in time for the long-term plan. We’re listening to considerations now, there’s an engagement but we want to see a whole lot more of that.”

The health secretary will be conducting a consultation exercise around the three priorities, but noted that NHS England will also be coming up with their own comprehensive framework. “It’s very important that the long-term plan delivers on this,” he added.

Top image: NurPhotoSIPA USAPA Images

 

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