Health Secretary Steve Barclay has strongly hinted that the chancellor’s autumn statement on Thursday will involve giving more money to the NHS.
Speaking at the NHS Providers conference in Liverpool, Mr Barclay denied reports that suggested the NHS did not need any more money in order to meet increasing pressure caused by rising inflation.
He said: “That is completely incorrect. The good thing about this is colleagues in the room will be able to see tomorrow.
“I can assure you that the Treasury wouldn’t allocate any money to the department if the department said it didn’t need it, given the fiscal situation we face.
“So in short, of course, we face significant financial pressures and inflation is there.”
He went on to say there had been a “lot of discussion” with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, urging delegates to judge him on the results of Thursday’s budget announcement.
He said: “One of the things I’m able to bring to this role, having been chief of staff in Number 10, having been the minister responsible for the Cabinet Office, is actually a very good understanding as to how best to make the case for the Department of Health and also in terms of our care sector, in terms of making that case to the centre.
“So… I can absolutely confirm that we do need support to meet those inflationary pressures.”
The NHS is set to receive £152bn in 2022-2023, £157bn the following year, and £162bn in 2024-2025 after NHS England warned its finances next year are facing a £7bn hole.
Earlier, during a speech to the conference, Mr Barclay said: “I have been very clear in setting out the extent of (NHS) challenges in shaping the context of the chancellor’s statement to the House tomorrow.”
The conference also heard that the £500m adult social care discharge fund, announced in September, would not be released to the front line until December.
Mr Barclay said: “The first tranche will be provided by early December, and the second will be distributed at the end of January.”
In reaction, the interim chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, said: “Trust leaders will welcome reassurances from the health and social care secretary that he has been batting on the NHS’s behalf in negotiations with the chancellor ahead of tomorrow’s fiscal statement.”