The real terms rise in NHS spending “will still feel like a cut”, according to the Royal College of Nursing.
Responding to chancellor George Osborne’s spending review, RCN chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter urged policy makers to “keep in touch” with the effects of cuts in the public sector..
Dr Carter said: “We welcome the government’s commitment to a real-terms increase in NHS funding. However, the reality is that this small increase at a time of soaring demand and the rising costs of health care, will still feel like a cut.
“The NHS in England is already been asked to make £20bn of efficiency savings and today’s spending review is likely to lead to further strain on health care services as job losses mount up and benefits are squeezed. Previous times of financial difficulties have shown that it is often the most vulnerable in society who suffer the brunt of these severe cuts.
“We are realistic about the significant financial challenges the nation faces, however we urge policy makers to keep in touch with what is happening on the ground across the public sector.”
The pension age will be raised to 66 from 2020 and public sector staff are expected to have to pay £1.8bn more into pension under the changes. A full report into public sector pensions being led by Lord John Hutton.
Dr Carter said: “We will work with Lord Hutton and vigorously defend fair pensions for our members ahead of the final report.”