3 March 2021
Responding to the Chancellor’s statement in the Commons outlining the Government’s Budget, Dr Katherine Henderson, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said:
“This budget is disappointing for the Health and Social Care service which urgently needs a revised funding and investment plan. There are only 10 mentions of the NHS in the published budget.
“The NHS entered the pandemic underfunded, short of staff and short of resources. Now more than ever the NHS must have an adequate recovery plan that includes funding, investment, and a strategy to fix the workforce crisis. This budget failed to build on last year’s spending review, which itself did not go far enough.
“Pressures on the NHS before the pandemic were anything but normal and the added pressure has taken a huge physical and mental toll on existing staff, who have been stretched too thinly.
“In Emergency Medicine we need an additional 2500 consultants and 4,000 nurses, in England alone. The wider NHS is hugely short of staff and fixing this will require an increase in the number of training school places, which in turn requires funding. Failing to address the workforce crisis does our staff a disservice as does making significant changes to the pension taxation rules which may further fuel the staffing crisis.
“While covid is receding, we cannot drift towards being complacent about the state of our NHS. It is regrettable that this budget will do little to address the longer-term underlying problems we have.”