The Primer: Chancellor announces £ 5.9 billion in capital for elective catch-up | New
If Sunday’s media coverage is anything to go by, it will be another busy week for health announcements.
Sunday newspaper briefings and an announcement on Sunday night track capital announcements expected in Wednesday’s spending review, focusing on elective catch-up.
The overall figure is £ 5.9 billion in new capital funding – it is not yet clear what this means for total annual investment budgets over the coming years, and how they will compare to what is necessary.
The money comes with a focus on community diagnostic centers, surgical centers, and information technology related to elective recovery.
What may not be on offer, it seems so far, is a decent multi-year capital settlement to start tackling the backlog of estates maintenance in a planned way. It is also unclear whether the NHS education and training budget within Health Education England will be protected.
Last night, NHS Confed Policy Director Layla McCay praised the funds pledged, but said: ‘The Treasury will know that the NHS allocation in the spending review is below what is needed to get services completely back on track. “
Reports in the Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph Also say that there will be some sort of government plan for elective remediation in the near future, according to sounds of it involving heavy roster cleaning type work.
The Times said: “The waiting list itself should also be ‘restructured’ with the separation of non-urgent work from emergency work. Javid and Johnson believe that many patients shouldn’t be there, including those waiting for minor operations who have been told they can’t have an operation until they look into them. underlying conditions, such as weight loss. “
All of this will dovetail with the push on patient-initiated self-management and follow-up discussed by Sir Jim Mackey last week, and the associated projects unofficially known within the NHSE as the ‘wait well’.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak, appearing on The Andrew Marr Show ahead of his big budget day, was squeezed by the proceeds of the health and care tax that would genuinely shift from the NHS to care in a few years. He pointed to the integration between the two – involving some sort of crossover / pooling of money in the years to come – which looks more like a blanket of underfunding in “two leaking buckets.”
The Sunday opening hours also reported that Javid was ready to announce compulsory vaccination for NHS staff in addition to social care, a hard line the health and care secretary seems very keen to push back at home.
Plan B, C, D …
The coronavirus has been relegated to the bottom of the news agenda in recent months, but the debate over how to deal with the virus came back in force last week.
Rising cases and concerns about winter pressures have prompted the NHS Confederation to call on ministers to immediately adopt their ‘plan B’ – which legally involves face covering in some settings and to consider asking people to work from home as much as possible – and to offer a possible “Plan C”.
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the organization, said: ‘The NHS is preparing for what could be the most difficult winter on record and it will do everything possible to ensure its services are not disrupted, but these external pressures are not only within their reach. influence.
‘As coronavirus cases continue to rise, alongside other demands on health services and pressure on the capacity of NHS and social service staff, leaders are worried about what could happen. at the street corner….
“It is time for the government to promulgate Plan B of its strategy without delay because without preventive action, we risk falling into a winter crisis. In addition, health officials need to understand what a “plan C” entails if these measures are insufficient.
“The government should not wait for covid infections to skyrocket and NHS pressure to be very high before the panic alarm sounds.”
Newspapers over the weekend showed tentative signs that things may slowly move towards Plan B, and indeed that Plan C and lockdown measures will be considered.
The Observer said: ‘In the clearest sign yet that Whitehall is actively considering further action, the Observer has learned that the British Health Security Agency (UKHSA) had contacted local authorities on Friday to assess their level of support for “the immediate deployment of the winter plan – plan B”.
Beware of those hospital admission numbers at the start of the week.
This has prompted the inevitable backlash from those who believe now is the time to put the economy first.
Conservative MP Mark Harper, for example, tweeted: “Much noise today about calls from @NHSConfed (the union of highly paid £ £ £ NHS leaders) to bring back the covid restrictions…
“The NHS is under pressure in the face of backlogs resulting from the pandemic. However, Conservative MPs recently voted to raise taxes to dramatically increase NHS resources to clear these backlogs. It would have been nice if [Matthew Taylor] and @NHSConfed acknowledged this today.
There was a less pointed, but similar, feeling of The telegraph of the day Columnist, Madeline Grant, who wrote: “If we can avoid a Chicken Licken-style return to alarm and discouragement, then we must, because we have a lot to lose. It would be a shame if the government changed course just as the public is learning to live with the virus. “
The government’s response was a press conference chaired by Sajid Javid, in which he rejected any immediate switch to Plan B, but also issued the warning of 100,000 positive covid cases per day, and stressed to several times that the virus had not gone away.
Laura Dodsworth, also in the The telegraph of the day, thinks this is all part of a campaign of ‘nudge’, or ‘subtle psychological manipulation’, to gradually persuade us to accept another winter lockdown.
She wrote: “Yesterday, Health Secretary Sajid Javid gave the first Downing Street briefing in a month – surely an ominous sign in itself… – in which he announced that covid infections had increased by 15 % in a week, and warned that cases could reach 100,000 a day this winter.
“But,” he continued, “if we all play our part, then we can give ourselves the best possible chance in this race… [We can] spend this winter and enjoy Christmas with our loved ones. ‘
Why is Christmas even in doubt, might an alarmed listener think?
“These psychological cues are carefully calibrated, more than many realize. In a paper written by the “Nudge Unit” (formerly known as the Behavioral Insights Team, a team headquarters established by David Cameron in 2010; it is now a private company, but is still third-party owned by the Cabinet Office), scientists are examining the success of Slovakia’s mass testing program, looking for how we might replicate that success in the UK.
“Use empowering messages,” the document advises. “Motivate people by creating a spirit of national resistance to the virus, highlighting the ability to take positive action and contribute to the national effort to save lives and livelihoods. Use the “save Christmas” messaging.
Not as drastic as described
There is probably some truth to this, but Charlotte Gill, writing for the Conservative Home website, summed it up better: “It’s worth remembering that Plan B is not as drastic as it has been. describe.
“It includes mandatory face coverings and tips for people to work from home, for example. Perhaps its most controversial element is the mandatory vaccination passport, but overall it is not as strict as some of the initial blockages.
“So the government has given itself leeway here; present plan B as the difficult option. This is something he can introduce, if the calls for it get louder, much more easily than the initial locking instructions. Around the promise not to go back, Javid may be able to keep his word. “
Update: This story was updated at 9:27 a.m. on October 25 to change the amount of capital for the elective catch-up from £ 5.6bn to £ 5.9bn in the final announcement