The 2018 Budget was delivered by the Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP on 29 October.
Details regarding the National Health Service (NHS) were set out in section 6.2 of the Budget. A reminder was given of the five year deal announced in June 2018 investing £83.6 billion into the NHS, an addition to the NHS budget of £20.5 billion a year, taking it from £114.6 billion in June 2018 to £147.8 billion in 2023-24.
It was assured that the money was being aimed for the front line and to improvements in services, with an agreement that the NHS would produce a ten-year plan for reforms, which will be published soon. The budget states,
“The government has set five financial tests for the NHS to meet in producing the plan, to ensure that it does its part in putting the health service onto a more sustainable footing. The plan must set out how:
- the NHS (including providers) will return to financial balance
- the NHS will achieve cash-releasing productivity growth of at least 1.1% a year (with a final number to be confirmed in the plan), with all savings reinvested in frontline care
- the NHS will reduce the growth in demand for care through better integration and prevention (with a final number to be confirmed in the plan)
- the NHS will reduce variation across the health system, improving providers’ financial and operational performance
- the NHS will make better use of capital investment and its existing assets to drive transformation”
The Budget also states that more importance would be placed on mental health services, including an increase in funding of up to £250 million a year by 2023-24 for new crisis services. These services would include 24/7 support via NHS 111, comprehensive mental health support in every major A&E, more mental health specialist ambulances and more community services.
Children and young people were also specified as a priority with new schools-based mental health support teams and specialist crisis teams for young people.
It was reported that the NHS will expand access to the Individual Placement Support programme to help with employment in those with severe mental illness, and that there would be £10 million in additional funding made available for air ambulance trusts.