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Hunt denies that NHS efficiencies mean inevitable rationing

BMJ 2016; 355 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i5659 (Published 21 October 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i5659
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. London

Tough efficiencies in the health service can be made without damaging patient care, England’s health secretary has said, despite recent warnings that rationing of services will become inevitable without extra money.

Jeremy Hunt, appearing before the parliamentary health committee on 18 October during an evidence session for its inquiry into the current state of NHS finances, denied that the NHS was in a perilous state but admitted that finances were challenging.

“I don’t believe at all that the NHS is awash with cash, and there are very real financial pressures as the NHS copes with the extraordinary pressures on the front line, particularly to do with the ageing population,” he told MPs.

However, he denied the extent of the problems as set out by previous witnesses to the inquiry, such as the representative bodies NHS Providers and NHS Clinical Commissioners—namely, that without extra funding, choices would have …

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