NHS budget raided to pay for new social care services fund

THE NHS budget in England will rise over the next four years, as chancellor George Osborne originally pledged, but by a small margin which critics yesterday said would be eliminated by rising costs.

The NHS will receive 0.1 per cent more a year over the next four years, but will be forced to sacrifice £2bn of this to help fund social care services that overlap with its current service.

Osborne said the new joint local council and NHS fund, which will pay for things such as rehabilitation after people leave hospital, would ultimately save the NHS money.

However, professor John Appleby, chief economist of the King’s Fund think tank, said that it meant the rise was not a real terms increase. “It is not money the health service can spend on what it wants to and if you take that out of the budget it is no longer a real rise.”