The Budget today reduces the Treasury’s estimate for NHS spending as a whole this year by £500m.

Tables at the back of the Budget report show the Treasury now expects the Department of Health to spend £99.6bn in resources this year, compared with its earlier estimate of £100.1bn at the time of its pre-Budget report in December.

The missing £500m is only partly offset by a £100m increase to the Treasury’s estimate for DH spending next financial year to £104.1bn.

Chancellor Alistair Darling used his Budget today to confirm government expectations for the NHS to make efficiency savings of between £15bn and £20bn by 2013-14.

But he said national level reports on NHS efficiency savings could “only be translated into reality by local NHS organisations”. He said those savings figures would therefore “be challenged, tested refined and supplemented as the NHS develops its local plans”.

However, the Budget report says £3.5bn can be saved by increasing NHS staff productivity, £2.7bn by improving the care  of people with long term conditions, £2bn through better procurement and estate management and £1.5bn through reducing unnecessary referrals and better case management in mental health.

Budget cuts NHS spending estimate by £500m