Health and Social Care secretary Matt Hancock has announced that £1 billion of funding will go to as many as 75 projects across England to upgrade facilities and treat more patients, including mental health and new integrated care services in the community.

The extra funding to upgrade facilities will mean that more people can be treated and more can be done to prevent ill-health in the first place, such as a new £36,197 emergency department in Walsall, a multimillion-pound eye care facility in London, and a major expansion of mental health services in Newcastle, Gateshead and Liverpool.

Almost £800 million of the funding will go to projects outside London in order to improve access to care across the country in less serviced areas.

The upgrade funding comes shortly after a University of Aberdeen study reported that those living in rural areas were less likely to survive cancer due to factors like proximity of health centres.

It also comes ahead of the launch of the government’s long-term plan for the NHS, which is the biggest ever funding increase for the NHS and will see its budget increase by £20.5 billion every year by 2023 to 2024.

Matt Hancock said of the investments: “We want even more patients to receive world-class care in world-class NHS facilities and this near billion-pound boost – one of the most substantial capital funding commitments ever made – means that the NHS can do just that for years to come.

"This will not only support dedicated staff through the redevelopment and modernisation of buildings, but it will allow additional services to launch for the first time, improving patients’ access to care in their local area as part of our long-term plan for the NHS.”