GP and patientThe Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Autumn Statement represents a “missed opportunity” to relieve the stresses on the NHS, Stephen Dalton, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, has said.

NHS and primary care were barely mentioned in the Statement, with the Chancellor focusing elsewhere. In response, Stephen Dalton said: “The Treasury has missed a golden opportunity to ease the strain on the NHS. While the Government is right to review long-term spending plans, social care services are in crisis right now.

“Our staff delivering services on the frontline this winter will find it extraordinary that the Government has turned a blind eye to the stresses and strains being felt in the health and social care system.

“Relying on a political rhetoric that promises to protect the NHS, but fails to acknowledge that a cut in social care results in a cost to the NHS, is an economic deception.”

The NHS Confederation represents 85 per cent of NHS providers and commissioners. The organisation has nearly 500 members across health and social care, including hospitals, community and mental health providers, ambulance trusts and independent sector organisations providing NHS care. It is the only membership body to bring together and speak on behalf of the whole NHS.