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NHS Funding Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:19 pm on 27th January 2020.

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Photo of Philippa Whitford Philippa Whitford Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Health and Social Care), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union) 6:19 pm, 27th January 2020

Having spent 33 years as a surgeon at the very sharp end of the NHS, I welcome the multi-year funding because it should allow better planning, but it does come after a decade of drought. Between 2010 and 2015, the average annual uplift was 1.1%. Between 2015 and 2018, it was only 2%. That means that over that period of eight years—during a time of inflation, and particularly rising demand with an ageing population—the NHS in England faced a real-terms cut, which is why quoting the spend per head is actually more realistic and more accurate. Scotland spends £136 a head more on health, which is why the Secretary of State is forever claiming that Barnett consequentials are not passed on in Scotland. Every penny of resource consequentials are passed on, but here is a little explanation of percentages: if the starting amount is bigger, the same amount will be a smaller percentage. We have explained this before, but we keep hearing this nonsense. In actual fact, if the Scottish Government used the same per capita spend on health as the UK Government does for England, Scotland would be £740 million worse off.