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NHS Budget Rise a “Cut”

The NHS budget in England is to rise by £10bn this parliament - the equivalent of a 0.1% above inflation rise each year.

It will mean funding increasing from £104bn this year to £114bn by 2014-15.


Historically, health spending has gone up by over 4% in real terms, prompting unions to say ahead of the announcement that a small rise will feel like a cut.

This is because the ageing population, obesity and the cost of new drugs mean an extra 3% is needed to stand still.

In preparation, the NHS has already been asked to find efficiency savings. The previous government set a target of between £15bn and £20bn by 2014 - which means finding nearly 5% of savings a year.

This target has been kept in place by the coalition despite its promise to increase the health budget in this parliament from April - the details of which have now been given in the Spending Review.

[quote top=Announcing the increase, Chancellor George Osborne said:]The NHS is an intrinsic part of the fabric of our country. It is the embodiment of a fair society.

To govern is to choose. And we have chosen the NHS. That does not mean we are letting the Health department off the need to drive forward real reform and savings from waste and inefficiency.[/quote]

He also said the cancer drug fund, promised before the election, would be created, while spending on health research would be protected along with new hospital projects.

He also said social care would get an extra £2bn over the next four years.