The Government has announced a £5.4bn funding injection for the NHS over the next six months to ‘support the Covid response’.
It said this would include an extra £1bn to tackle the care backlog; £2.8bn to cover related costs ‘such as enhanced infection control measures’; and £478 million to continue the hospital discharge programme.
It was unclear how much, if any, of the funding would go towards GP services. The funding is for England only, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to receive equal allocations according to the Barnett formula.
Health secretary Sajid Javid said the additional funding was ‘critical to ensuring the health service has what it needs to manage the ongoing pandemic and helping to tackle waiting lists’.
He added: ‘We know waiting lists will get worse before they get better as people come forward for help, and I want to reassure you the NHS is open, and we are doing what we can to support the NHS to deliver routine operations and treatment to patients across the country.’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: ‘The NHS was there for us during the pandemic – but treating Covid patients has created huge backlogs.
‘This funding will go straight to the frontline, to provide more patients with the treatments they need but aren’t getting quickly enough.
‘We will continue to make sure our NHS has what it needs to bust the Covid backlogs and help the health service build back better from the worst pandemic in a century.’
The news comes as a report last week suggested the hospital sector would require a £10bn funding increase next year just to keep afloat.
Meanwhile, the BMA had called for ‘at least’ £4.9bn to tackle the non-Covid care backlog; £6.5bn capital funding to cover overdue maintenance costs; at least £4.2bn capital funding for wholesale digital transformation; and £1bn capital funding for GP premises.