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Hunt rejects claim that no plan exists to tackle NHS funding “black hole”

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i1572 (Published 15 March 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i1572
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. The BMJ

The health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has rejected the findings of a new report from MPs, which claimed that the government is yet to produce a convincing plan to tackle the NHS funding crisis.

In the report published this week,1 the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee said that the government had not acted quickly enough to keep acute hospital trusts in financial balance and had not set out a credible plan to plug the £22bn (€28.1bn; $31.2bn) financial “black hole” that the NHS faces by 2020-21.

But, speaking exclusively to The BMJ, Hunt insisted that the government had already begun to help financially stricken NHS hospitals by cracking down on the high cost of agency staff and creating a new streamlined economic regulator, NHS Improvement, to help trusts bring their finances under control.

When asked to respond to the committee’s criticisms Hunt said, “I wouldn’t accept that [criticism] at all. I think that’s …

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