HSJ’s must read analysis on the government’s spending review

What the announcement means for health and care

This afternoon’s spending review announcement has taken the shine off yesterday’s preview of “frontloaded” funding for NHS England in a big way. Documents published as the chancellor finished his speech revealed that much of the real terms funding increase promised for NHS England over the parliament will come at the expense of huge real terms cuts to other areas of Department of Health spending.

The £15.3bn pot of DH funding that pays for health education, public health, capital projects and other arm’s length bodies will be cut to £13.2bn by 2020-21. The Health Foundation calculates the real terms cut at 21 per cent.

Worse than that, much of the cut – £1.5bn in cash terms – will come in 2016-17. Health Foundation chief economist Anita Charlesworth described the move as a “massive exercise in robbing Peter to pay Paul”, while Nuffield Trust chief executive Nigel Edwards said it was now clear that the NHS England funding announced yesterday “may have come at the cost of services that the NHS depends on”.

We have an exclusive interview with Health Education England chief executive Ian Cumming, commenting on the challenges in his budget; and have explored the new round of cuts facing public health – specifically a 4 per cent real terms reduction each year.

Elsewhere, analysis of the spending review reveals: