The UK Statistics Authority chair Andrew Dilnot has asked health secretary Jeremy Hunt to clarify prior statements that NHS spending has increased over the last two years.
According to a number of statements made by the prime minister, the health secretary and the Conservative Party website, the NHS budget has increased in real terms.
Dilnot acknowledged that there were indeed uncertainties associated with the current statistics. ‘It might also be fair to say that real terms expenditure had changed little over this period,’ he said, adding that he would ‘be grateful if the Department of Health could clarify the statements made.’
Independent website Full Fact also joined the debate and scrutinised the figures
. It concluded: ‘While it’s clear that the claim of a rise in NHS spending can’t be sustained, there is some scope for interpretation over precisely how the NHS budget has changed over the past two years.’
However, a Department of Health spokesman responded, saying: ‘The 2010-11 year budget and spending plans were set in place by the previous government. For the first year of this Government’s spending review, as Andrew Dilnot acknowledges, NHS spending increased in real terms compared to the previous year by 0.1%. The NHS budget will continue to increase in real terms during every year of the current spending review settlement.’