Prime Minister hints at long-term funding plan to rescue NHS

Theresa May bows to mounting pressure to boost health funding

Theresa May has promised more long-term funding settlements for the NHS

Prime Minister, Theresa May, has bowed to increasing pressure and has pledged to bring forward a long-term funding plan for the NHS.

Speaking last week in response to growing concerns that health services across the country are at breaking point; she said the small spending rises the health service had received since 2010 would end, in favour of much-greater increases.

Ensuring the NHS can cope with demand ahead of the spending review, I would suggest we can’t wait until next Easter. I think in this 70th anniversary year of the NHS’s foundation we need an answer on this

While she did not put a figure on the settlement, experts have predicted that, to get on top of finances, the NHS needs an injection of around £150billion by 2022-23.

That figure is £20billion more than currently planned and a huge increase on the £125billion that has gone into health in England this year.

Speaking to Commons select committee chairs, May said details of the plan would precede the spending review already planned for the summer of 2019.

She added: “This year, and in advance of next year’s spending review, I do want to come forward with a long-term plan.

“I want that to be done in conjunction with NHS leaders and provide a multi-year funding settlement consistent with our fiscal rules and balanced approach.

“Ensuring the NHS can cope with demand ahead of the spending review, I would suggest we can’t wait until next Easter. I think in this 70th anniversary year of the NHS’s foundation we need an answer on this.”

Her comments followed earlier concerns voiced by Chancellor Philip Hammond, who said he was looking into a new tax as a potential way of ploughing extra money into struggling NHS services.

Charting a multi-year path for modern, efficient and sensibly-funded health and social care could mean huge gains for cancer patients, mental health services, and support for frail older people, as well as the several million nurses, doctors and other care staff who devote their lives to looking after us

Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, who has been lobbying for higher government funding, said of the news: “The NHS celebrates seven decades of service this July at a time of great pressure on frontline staff and great promise for improved care.

“Charting a multi-year path for modern, efficient and sensibly-funded health and social care could mean huge gains for cancer patients, mental health services, and support for frail older people, as well as the several million nurses, doctors and other care staff who devote their lives to looking after us.”

Also last week May claimed that leaving the EU would make more money available to spend on key priorities such as the NHS.

During the campaign for the 2016 referendum, Brexit supporters had said that Britain pays £350m a week to the bloc and had promised to spend the money on the NHS instead.

Speaking to the BBC, May said: “When we leave the European Union, we’ll no longer be spending vast sums of money, year in and year out, sending that money to the European Union, so there will be money available here in the UK to spend on our priorities like the NHS and schools.”

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