The funding will go towards improving infrastructure and equipment with the aim of clearing the backlog caused by Covid-19
“This is a gamechanging investment in the NHS to make sure we have the right buildings, equipment and systems to get patients the help they need and make sure the NHS is fit for the future.” Rishi Sunak, chancellor of the exchequer
The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, is to allocate nearly £6bn to the NHS in England to tackle the lengthy waiting lists caused by the pandemic.
The funding, which will be announced in Wednesday’s budget, will pay for physical infrastructure and equipment rather than for operational costs. The £5.9bn is split three ways:
One of the aims is to deliver 30% more elective procedures, including checks and scans, by 2024-25 compared to the numbers before the pandemic. Sunak plans to create 100 community diagnostic centres across England, 44 of which have already been announced. These will be sited in shopping centres, so they are easily accessible, and will be used to clear some of the backlog of tests, such as CT, MRI and ultrasound scans.
The NHS is finding it difficult to cope with a growing backlog of people needing elective procedures. The number in England waiting for treatment now stands at 5.7 million, and is growing by 100,00 a month, and there are now nearly 10,000 people on the list who have been waiting for more than two years.. One analysis from the Institute of Fiscal Studies has suggested that the waiting list could grow to 14 million people by next autumn.
“We are committed to getting health services back on track and ensuring no one is left waiting for vital tests or treatment,” said Sunak. “This is a gamechanging investment in the NHS to make sure we have the right buildings, equipment and systems to get patients the help they need and make sure the NHS is fit for the future.”
Health secretary Sajid Javid said: “This £6bn investment will support the delivery of millions more checks, scans and procedures for patients across the country. Business as usual won’t be enough. That’s why we are going to reform care with more community diagnostic centres, new surgical hubs and the latest technology to help recover NHS services by tackling waiting lists.”
As well as the money allocated to NHS England, a proportionate amount will go to the NHS in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.