British PM promises Brexit health service boost


The latest example came over the weekend when Theresa May's Tory government promised to pour an extra £20 billion a year into Britain's struggling National Health Service by 2023.

Well the PM told her former adviser it would come from a combination of a "Brexit dividend", so that the United Kingdom can "take advantage" of the fact that "we've got money we're no longer sending to the European Union".

That claim has been dismissed as "tosh" by Tory Health Select Committee chair Dr Sarah Wollaston, while former minister Dr Phillip Lee said "there is no evidence yet that there will be a "Brexit dividend" - so it's tax rises, more borrowing or both".

The NHS has been struggling to cope with funding shortages in recent years, particularly during the flu-ridden winter months.

"So we will do more than simply give the NHS a one-off injection of cash".

Echoing this, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) recently projected that NHS spending would have to increase by 5.3% of national income over the next 50 years if it is to meet increasing demand for its services and other cost pressures.

Meanwhile, councils have questioned why the funding announcement did not also include more money for social care and public health, which covers everything from stop smoking services to obesity prevention.

"But that alone won't be anything like enough, so there will also be more resourcing through the taxation system, and also through economic growth".

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"The OBR has said by 15 billion a year; it could be a bit more, it could be a bit less.”".

He said the financial settlement with the EU, plus the UK's commitments to replace EU funding, "already uses up all of our EU contributions" for the next few years.

Ms Robison said: "Under this Scottish government, we've increased NHS funding to record high levels and committed to passing on every penny of health resource consequentials to health investment in Scotland".

All eyes will now be on the speech the prime minister is due to deliver this morning, which may also reveal further details on the proposed cash increase as well as the 10-year plan, which reportedly will aim to reduce waste, cut red tape and address variation in services and standards. "We will be spending it on our priorities and our number one priority is the NHS". However, that's still less than the 3.7 percent average rise the NHS has had since 1948.

So it is clear that far from there being a "Brexit dividend", there is in fact a growing Brexit deficit.

Speaking about May's announcement, the foundation's director of research and economics Professor Anita Charlesworth said: "A funding increase of £20.5 billion per year to NHS England's budget by 2023/24 is around 3.4%".

Theresa May said some of the spending boost would be the result of a "Brexit dividend" as the United Kingdom would soon no longer be sending large sums to Brussels.

Councillor Izzi Seecombe, of the Local Government Association, said: "Without essential council services, which help people live healthy lives in their own homes and communities, the NHS can not thrive".