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Health Service May’s NHS funding promises nowhere near enough, say Labour and campaign groups

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A £384 million-a-week real-terms cash injection for the NHS is still “nowhere near” enough to heal eight years of Tory cuts, shadow chancellor John McDonnell declared yesterday.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced the NHS would get an extra £20 billion a year in real terms by 2024, saying a “Brexit dividend,” extra borrowing and increased taxes would provide the 3.4 per cent funding boost.

But health campaigners warned that crisis-hit social care would get none of the money.

And Labour’s Mr McDonnell dismissed the announcement as a “publicity stunt,” saying: “After eight years of Tory cuts and privatisation, the NHS and social care are in crisis.

“The announcement on funding is nowhere near good enough and the Prime Minister has confirmed there is no new money for social care.

“This falls far short of the 4 per cent that experts say the NHS needs. It is just a standstill and the Tories are refusing to say where the money will come from. 

“You can’t trust the Tories with the NHS.”

Keep Our NHS Public, Health Campaigns Together and the People’s Assembly called for a funding boost of at least 5 per cent next year and 4 per cent for the four years after.

In a joint statement, they said that the increase in funding only amounts to 3 per cent more for the next five years because it only applies to NHS England.

“Importantly, it also excludes medical and nurse training and public health budgets — these are crucial to the delivery of NHS services, they said.

“While any funding increase is to be welcomed, 3 per cent will not be enough to repair the damage already done to the NHS from years of austerity.”

The groups also said that it is yet not known how the money will be allocated and “what strings will be attached” to it.

“As always with the Conservatives, the devil will be in the detail.”

They pointed to a £10bn a year NHS funding increase announced in 2016 which they said only resulted in £800m in real terms because of “accounting tricks” by the Department of Health.

Health Campaigns Together co-chair Dr Louise Irvine said that social care spending on its own should be increased by 3.9 per cent.

The GP told the government: “Stop wasting precious NHS resources on the failed experiment of the market and outsourcing and reinstate the NHS as a public service — the only way to ensure effective and efficient joined-up services.”

Dr Tony O’Sullivan, retired paediatrician and co-chair of Keep Our NHS Public, said that ministers abandoning NHS workforce planning resulted in 100,000 doctor and nurse vacancies and “tears of distress” for those who were in those jobs.

“We need a commitment to respect NHS staff once again, reinstate the NHS student bursary, pay staff properly and to put the NHS back together again alongside a publicly funded social care system,” he said.

The groups are holding a demonstration in London on June 30 marking the 70th anniversary of the NHS and fighting for its future.

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