May Day May Day ! Theresa caught lying on the £10bn NHS funding!

Five MPs led by the Conservative Dr Sarah Wollaston, the chair of the Commons health select committee, have written to the chancellor demanding the government abandon its “incorrect” claims of putting £10bn into the NHS annual budget by the end of this parliament and admit the severity of its financial shortage.

“The continued use of the figure of £10bn for the additional health spending up to 2020–21 is not only incorrect but risks giving a false impression that the NHS is awash with cash,” Wollaston tell the chancellor in a letter.

“This figure is often combined with a claim that the government ‘has given the NHS what it asked for’. Again, this claim does not stand up to scrutiny as NHS England spending cannot be seen in isolation from other areas of health spending.”

The letter’s other signatures are Dr James Davies, a Conservative MP who is also a family doctor; Labour’s Ben Bradshaw, a former health minister, Labour MP Emma Reynolds; and Dr Philippa Whitford of the Scottish National party, who is an NHS breast cancer specialist.

At a time when the pressures on its finances were threatening to become “overwhelming”, she upbraided ministers in a strongly worded letter over making it seem the NHS was in rude health.

She also warned the Chancellor unless the Government invest in the NHS, the service would struggle to meet the long-term demands of caring for an ageing population.

“The £10bn figure can only be reached by adding an extra year to the spending review period, changing the date from which the real terms increase is calculated and disregarding the total health budget,” she concluded.

Worries about health service funding have emerged with increasing intensity in the run-up to the autumn statement on 23 November after it emerged that May told the head of the NHS in private that it would get no additional money this parliament.

There have also been widespread calls for the government to make good on the suggestion by Brexit campaigners that leaving the EU could add £350m-a-week to the NHS budget.

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Stephane Savary

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