UK government to spend additional £6 billion per year on NHS

Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) is to receive additional funding from HM Treasury, with an immediate investment of GBP6bn per year, the UK government announced on Tuesday.

Making the announcement ahead of the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Spending Review and Autumn Statement 2015, HM Treasury revealed that NHS is to receive an additional GBP10bn per year above inflation by 2020, which will deliver the government’s Five Year Forward View in full.

Over the course of this Parliament, the government said it will spend more than half a trillion pounds on the health service and the extra funding will result in the NHS being able to deliver 800,000 more operations and treatments; a further two million diagnostic tests; provide over five million more outpatient appointments; and spend up to an extra GBP2bn on new drugs.

Also, to meet the growing demands of an ageing population, the additional funding will enable the NHS to improve out of hospital services that will result in people receiving treatment closer to home. Out of hospital services are said to give patients greater control over their own care and help prevent people getting seriously ill in the first place.

The government expects the additional investment to help the NHS deliver the services needed in hospitals at the weekend and people will be able to access a GP at evenings and weekends. It anticipates that by 2020, everyone will be able to access GP services in the evenings and at weekends, which will mean 5,000 extra doctors working in general practice, with investment of GBP750m.

Capital funding of GBP4.8bn is to be provided to the Department of Health for each year of the Spending Review, with the continued rollout of the 50 vanguards sites enhancing services in local areas bringing home care, mental health, community nursing, GP and hospital services together.

By 2020-2021, there will be up to a further GBP300m spent on cancer diagnostics annually. Experts say this could help save 11,000 lives a year, as anyone with suspected cancer will be diagnosed within a maximum of 28 days of being referred by a GP.

An investment of more than GBP500m is to be invested in new hospitals, including Cambridge, Brighton and Sandwell, while the sale of surplus estates will generate a further GBP2bn for reinvestment in the health service, as well as releasing land for 26,000 new homes.

Also included in the Five Year Forward View are GBP22bn of efficiency savings, which equates to 2% to 3% per cent per annum. These savings are expected to be made in several areas, such as improved procurement, more efficient use of NHS resources and a reduction in avoidable hospital attendances. This money will be reinvested in front line services.

Chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens commented:

“This settlement is a clear and highly welcome acceptance of our argument for frontloaded NHS investment. It will help stabilise current pressures on hospitals, GPs, and mental health services, and kick start the NHS Five Year Forward View’s fundamental redesign of care.

“In the context of constraints on overall public spending, our case for the NHS has been heard and actively supported.”