The government will not be announcing any extra funds for the NHS in the Autumn statement, senior NHS sources have told the Guardian.
Prime Minister Theresa May has reportedly told NHS chief executive Simon Stevens not to expect more than the £10 billion extra already promised to the health service during this parliament, and that the focus should instead be on efficiency savings to plug the gap in cash.
According to the Guardian, Whitehall sources have confirmed that the chancellor's statement on November 23 will not contain new funding for the health service, despite warning bells over the NHS' financial state and ability to cope with surging demand.
"If these reports are true, the prime minister needs to explain how exactly the NHS will keep up with rising demand without the necessary investment. Theresa May talks about injecting £10bn into the NHS, yet in reality the increase in health spending is less than half of that," said Dr Anthea Mowat, BMA representative body chair.
"The NHS is already the most efficient health care system in the world. The notion that the funding crisis can be solved with further efficiency savings is a myth, and these are not savings, they are year-on-year cuts that have driven almost every acute trust in England into deficit, led to a crisis in general practice and a community and social care system on the brink of collapse."
"The NHS needs urgent action to put it on sustainable financial footing, meaning these reports, if correct, underscore a lack of understanding from the prime minister about just how serious the situation is. Failure to invest now will result in a disaster in the future, both financially and in terms of patient health and care," she stressed.
Just last week it was forecast that NHS Wales alone is facing a shortfall of some £700 million by 2019/20, with a report by independent charity concluding that "immediate and sustained action" will be necessary in tackling the urgent funding pressures facing the service.
Separately, NHS England monthly stats showed continued poor performance data for the NHS and a Care Quality Commission report revealed that 57 percent of accidence and emergency departments were either inadequate or in need of improvement.
The Royal College of Emergency Medicine urged the government to increase its investment both in emergency care as well as social care, while Dr Mark Holland, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, warned: "The NHS is on its knees and, this winter, areas will implode around the country. There is no reserve left".
Commenting on the Guardian's article, Chris Ham, chief executive of think tank the King's Fund, told the paper: "If these accounts are true, then it is clear that Downing Street does not yet fully understand the impact on patients of the huge pressures facing the NHS".
"The view from the top of government appears to be that the NHS has been given the extra money it asked for and should deliver what is expected of it. But this misses the point that demand for services is rising rapidly and the NHS is managing with the lowest funding increases in its history".