25 November 2020
Following the Chancellor’s statement today outlining the Government’s Spending Review, Dr Katherine Henderson, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said:
“Any additional funding for the health and care service is always welcome. After the efforts of our healthcare workers, still continuing to fight this pandemic, it is essential that we now invest in our healthcare service, our healthcare workers, our hospitals, social care and Emergency Departments.
“However, today’s funding announcement still falls short of what we need to fix the deep-rooted system-wide issues in our NHS. A year on year increase of 3.5% is less than what we, and the sector, have called for and it is still less than the historic year on year average.
“There is still a significant shortfall in social care funding and again, while an extra £1bn is welcome, does not meet our call, and will not be enough for the sector to recover. Given the direct impact social care has on Emergency Departments, this is storing up problems for the future.
“We are also unconvinced that the extra money allocated to Health Education England will be able to deliver on the governments staffing promises, or the 2,500 extra EM doctors we need.
“However, a pay rise for clinical NHS staff is very welcome, as is a specific covid recovery funding and the further boost to capital funding. This will help our EDs begin to reconfigure and expand, to make them fit for the 21st century. Capital funds will in small part help to reduce dangerous crowding, but does little to fix the system wide issues, including flow and lack of nearly 10,000 staffed beds, that underlies the problem.
“Crowding is now more dangerous than ever and is a catalyst for the spread of covid. We hope that money invested in covid vaccination and prevention will do what is required to help eliminate the virus, otherwise the lack of specific focus on our EDs to tackle this problem may prove short sighted.”