What does the autumn budget mean for the healthcare sector?

On November 17, Jeremy Hunt announced plans to provide additional funding to the NHS following a period of great financial uncertainty impacting nurses, physios and patients alike. 


Here are the key points outlined in the autumn budget that have implications for the healthcare sector. 


NHS to receive cash injection


The NHS is set to receive £3.3bn billion in 2023 and again in 2024. This decision has received mixed reviews from healthcare leaders.


NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: “We welcome the chancellor’s decision to prioritise the NHS with funding to address rising cost pressures and help staff deliver the best possible care for patients. This shows the government has been serious about its commitment to prioritise the NHS.” 


On the other hand, Dr Sneh Khemka, chief executive officer at Simplyhealth said the NHS will still remain under “considerable financial strain” regardless of the proposed funding. 


The Health Foundation also highlighted that the UK invests £40bn less a year on healthcare than the majority of European economies and suggested that to stabilise the NHS would take £7bn extra a year. 


Increase in National Living Wage


The UK National Living Wage will rise from £9.50 an hour to £10.42 for over-23s, set in motion from April 2023. This equates to an increase of 92p an hour. 


He told MPs his three priorities were ‘stability, growth and public services’, during the budget announcement. 


Nonetheless, nursing strikes over pay disputes are still due to go ahead on December 15 and December 20. 


Staffing shortages


Chronic staff shortages are taking their toll on the NHS and its ability to provide the best care to patients. Although the Autumn Budget covered existing promises to the NHS, such as 50,00 more nurses and 50 million additional GP appointments, it failed to mention specific funding to back these commitments up. 


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