Our message to the Chancellor

NHSA's pre-Budget call for investment into health and the health innovation economy

10th March 2020

Dr Séamus O’Neill, Chief Executive, Northern Health Science Alliance

“The Budget comes at an extraordinary time for the Government and it is crucial that the North plays an important part in driving the success of the UK through effective investment into health and the health innovation economy.

“The health of people in the region is paramount – around a third of the productivity gap between the North and the rest of the country is due to ill health.

“The previous decade has seen massive public health cuts which have contributed to the stark growth in health inequalities, as demonstrated in last month’s Marmot report. These need to be reversed so our population can be healthy, happy and productive again. However, starting on this path will require an injection of £1bn a year into Northern public health.

“And the Government needs to invest in our health system. The NHS is a huge employer in the North of England with many thousands of skilled workers driving the health and wealth of the region, a £10.5bn increase in NHS budgets in the North will support those working in areas with the highest levels of deprivation, £600m for Health for Life Centres would offer support for those in the communities and towns.

“Health innovation has been recognised as a prime capability for the North of England and this should be invested in as an economic asset. The Northern Health Science Alliance’s analysis of Health Research Funding shows that we receive just £21 per person on health innovation compared to a £62 average in London Oxford and Cambridge despite the fact our health is significantly poorer and the impact on levelling up this spending would have on the economy.

“Our Connected Health North proposal has asked the Government for £260m over five years to make the region a global leader in connecting and using health care data with an engaged and supportive population. It would also provide capacity for the world-class research and clinical expertise in diagnostics, therapeutics and digital care to be mobilised in support of both patient care and economic growth.

“In this Budget the Chancellor should invest in the areas that need it the most and that will make the biggest impact on the economy, health is one of those areas. Let’s hope he’s true to his levelling up mantra and puts his money where the rhetoric is.”

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