This week, the Richmond Group of Charities set out three tests that today's budget needed to meet in order to stop the worrying decline in access, quality and safety that people living with long term health conditions have experienced in recent years.
It is clearly welcome that the Chancellor has decided to inject both capital and revenue funding into the NHS. However, the overall package falls well short of the £4 billion all experts agree is needed to guarantee the delivery of health and social care in a timely, safe and dignified way.
It is particularly short-sighted that the budget fails to address at all the immense pressures building up in the social care system: growing unmet need, providers going out of business, and a real risk of market collapse. This will impact badly on people needing both health and social care services, and will fail to address bottlenecks and consequent access problems in the NHS itself.
Health and social care are part of the same system, and both need to be reformed and properly funded. Piecemeal fixes such as those announced today will not solve the fundamental problems at the hearts of these systems, and will do little to reduce the impact being felt every day by the people who rely on them.
15 million people with chronic conditions, who often struggle daily with breathing difficulties, pain, fatigue, and mental distress, deserve better than a budget that once again kicks the difficult decisions in the long grass.