The UK’s new prime minister, Boris Johnson, has pledged an extra £1.8 billion cash injection to the NHS, saying that the money will go towards ‘more beds, new cutting-edge equipment and additional wards’ for various countries across the country.
An additional £1 billion boost to NHS capital spending has also been announced, allowing existing upgrade programmes to proceed and tackling the most urgent infrastructure projects.
Later this week Matt Hancock, health secretary, will also set out further changes to the NHS pension scheme to support senior doctors and GPs taking on extra shifts.
The PM claimed in a speech that he has made it his “immediate task” to make sure that frontline services have “the funding they need”, as well as making “a real difference to the lives of NHS staff, and above all, of patients.”
He went on, “The NHS is always there for us – free at the point of use for everyone in the country.
“With our doctors and nurses working tirelessly day in day out, this treasured institution truly showcases the very best of Britain.”
The one-off £1.8 billion funding is in addition to the extra £33.9 billion, the NHS is set to receive every year by 2023/24 through the Long Term Plan agreed last year. Over £1 billion of this will be spent this year, meaning an annual increase in the NHS’s capital budget of 30%.
Danny Mortimer, deputy chief executive of the NHS Confederation and chief executive of NHS Employers mentioned that the money is “clearly welcome”, but that the PM’s “words will be meaningless without real, concrete action to back them up.”
He added that the injection is “desperately needed to modernise services and working environments and improve the quality and efficiency of patient care, and that “spending on NHS buildings, equipment and digital technology is half the OECD average and woefully inadequate.”
The 20 hospitals set to be upgraded at a cost of £850 million have been announced and include Luton & Dunstable University Hospital, Norfolk and Suffolk, Leeds Teaching Hospitals and Croydon Health Services among others.
Johnson concluded: “It’s time to face up to this challenge and make sure the NHS receives the funds it needs, to continue being the best healthcare service in the world.”