Spending Review – Government announces investment plans for the NHS

The NHS will receive an additional £10 billion a year above inflation by 2020, with almost £6 billion frontloaded by the first year of the Spending Review, the government has decided. This will deliver, in full, the Five Year Forward View – the NHS’s own plan for the future of the service, Chancellor George Osborne is to announce. The Spending Review announcement means that over the course of this Parliament, the government will spend over half a trillion pounds on the health service – an unprecedented level of investment. The additional funding will allow the NHS to offer 800,000 more operations and treatments, 2 million more diagnostic tests, 5.5 million more outpatient appointments and spend up to £2 billion more on new drugs that patients need. As the NHS faces growing demands from an ageing population, it will also allow the development of better out of hospital services that will see more people treated closer to home, give patients greater control over their own care, and help prevent people getting seriously ill in the first place. The additional investment will deliver a truly 7-day health service, with the services people need being offered in hospitals at the weekend and people able to access a GP at evenings and weekends. By 2020, everyone will be able to access GP services in the evenings and at weekends. This will mean 5,000 extra doctors working in general practice, with £750 million of investment, the Chancellor will announce. By 2018, there will be 7-day coverage in all key hospital services for half the population, rising to 100 per cent by 2020. The Department of Health will receive £4.8 billion in capital funding in every year of the Spending Review, improving services so they are delivered nearer to patients’ homes. The continued rollout of the 50 vanguards sites will enhance services in local areas bringing home care, mental health, community nursing, GP and hospital services together. There will be up to £300 million more spent on cancer diagnostics every year by 2020-2021, so anyone with suspected cancer will be diagnosed within a maximum of 28 days of being referred by a GP, which experts say could help save 11,000 lives a year. Over £500 million, meanwhile, will be invested in new hospitals including in Cambridge, Brighton, and Sandwell. Selling surplus estates will generate a further £2 billion for reinvestment in the health service, while releasing land for 26,000 new homes. The Five Year Forward View also involves £22 billion of efficiency savings – equivalent to two to three per cent per annum – in a number of areas, including better procurement, better use of NHS resources and reducing avoidable hospital attendances. The money will be reinvested in front line services. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said:
We promised the British people that their priority was our priority, and we would fund our National Health Service. You can only have a strong NHS if you have a strong economy and it’s only because we have taken the difficult decisions needed to cut the deficit and are delivering economic security that we are able to commit an additional £10 billion a year by 2020 to the NHS. We will deliver £6billion a year extra investment straight away, as those in charge of the NHS have requested. This means I am providing the health department with a half a trillion pound settlement - the biggest ever commitment to the NHS since its creation.

This will mean world-class treatment for millions more patients, deliver a truly 7-day health service and allow the NHS to implement its five-year plan to transform the services patients receive.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:
The government is committed to the values of our National Health Service – and with this historic level of investment we are delivering on that by fully backing the NHS’s own plan for the future.

It is thanks to our growing economy and the decisions we’ve made that we can support a stronger NHS that makes a real difference for millions of patients – providing more appointments, new drugs, and the security of the care you need, when you need it, 7 days a week.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:
For doctors and nurses working harder than ever on the frontline this upfront investment means we can implement the NHS’s own ambitious plan to transform services for the future. We are passionate about building an NHS that offers the safest, highest quality care anywhere in the world - with services smoothly operating 7 days a week.

This new money will help us finish the job.

Chief Executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens said:
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.

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