The announced annual spending growth of 4 percent above inflation for the next three years is still barely half the 7.4 percent that the NHS has received for the last five years.
Hidden in the detail of the spending review was a call for annual NHS savings of more than £8 billion. That means even more health cuts.
While spending will rise by £20 billion, from £90 billion to £110 billion by 2010, the size of the increase is still below the minimum 4.4 percent advocated by Sir Derek Wanless in his review of the NHS carried out in 2002 – at the request of the then chancellor Gordon Brown.
Even last year’s NHS budget meant some 21,000 workers losing their jobs and ward closures around the country.