A £20bn boost to the annual NHS budget has been announced months before the health service’s 70th birthday.
Theresa May said the extra funding showed her government’s dedication to the NHS and ensuring it has a future “this is a plan for a world class health service meaning more doctors and more nurses” she said.
In money terms, this means the current £114bn budget will rise by an average of 3.4% annually. How this increase will be funded is still unclear as the government had to concede a “Brexit dividend” similar to the £350m plastered on the famous Brexit bus would not cover the bill. Speaking with the BBC, May said: “As a country we will be contributing more, a bit more, but also we will have that sum of money that is available from the European Union.”
Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Paul Johnson insists a tax rise is the only way an increase can be funded. He tweeted: “There is no Brexit dividend.”
This increase comes a few days after a group of bi-partisan MPs wrote to the Prime Minister expressing their anger at the NHS’s current budget. Though some medical professionals do not welcome the announcement. Writing in the Daily Mirror 100 senior doctors and nurses said: “Less than 4% means the NHS will continue to deteriorate and our patients continue to suffer.
“The NHS needed a funding increase that would ensure that never again will we see the scenes in our hospitals and A&Es of needless suffering and tragic deaths.”
The Office for Budget Responsibility, health think-tanks, and NHS providers all back an annual 4% rise.
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth MP said: “The NHS is in crisis after eight years of Tory cuts and privatisation. Today’s announcement confirms that Theresa May has failed to give the NHS the funding it needs.”
This year NHS England recorded its worst ever winter performance as hospital struggled to meet targets under the stress of a winter flu outbreak. Royal College of Nursing chief executive Janet Davies said: “Over 81,000 people going to A&E had to wait more than four hours for a bed in the hospital the worst figure on record
“Over a thousand of those had to wait a shocking 12 hours or more.”