The NHS is set to receive a huge cash boon as it seeks to deal with the current Covid-19 crisis and the waiting list crisis.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health and Social Affairs Secretary Sajid Javid have announced that the health service will receive an additional £ 5.4bn over the next six months to support its response.
The money will go immediately to support the NHS in dealing with the immediate pressures of the pandemic.
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£ 1bn has been earmarked to help tackle the Covid-19 backlog, while £ 2.8bn will cover related costs such as improved infection control measures to protect staff and patients of the virus and £ 478million to continue the hospital discharge program, freeing up beds.
The additional £ 5.4bn brings the government’s total investment in healthcare services for COVID-19 so far this year to more than £ 34bn, with £ 2bn in total for that the NHS tackles the elective backlog.
Mr Johnson said: “The NHS was there for us during the pandemic – but treating Covid patients created huge backlogs.
“This funding will go directly to the front line, to provide more patients with the treatments they need, but are not getting fast enough.
“We will continue to make sure our NHS has what it needs to clear Covid backlogs and help health services better recover from the worst pandemic in a century. “
Mr Javid added: “” The NHS has been phenomenal as it has faced one of the greatest challenges in its history.
‘The additional £ 5.4bn in funding today over the next 6 months is essential to ensure the health service has what it needs to manage the ongoing pandemic and help fight waiting lists.
“We know the waiting lists are going to get worse before they get better as people ask for help, and I want to reassure you that the NHS is open, and we are doing what we can to help the NHS to providing routine operations and treatment to patients across the country. “
Last month, The Chronicle revealed that waiting lists for treatment had reached record levels in Newcastle hospitals and that A&E services were under pressure.
There were 86,210 people awaiting care at the end of June – the highest number since records began in August 2007.
The numbers also rise at County Durham and Darlington NHS Trust, to 29,473, the highest level since May 2008, and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust, to 25,056.
Amanda Pritchard, Chief Executive Officer of the NHS, said: ‘This funding provides welcome certainty for the NHS, which has gone out of its way to restore services, while treating thousands of critically ill Covid patients requiring hospital treatment over the course of the most difficult summer on record.
“This additional investment will allow the NHS to provide more checks, analysis and procedures, while helping to cope with the continued costs and pressures of the pandemic as the NHS heads into winter.”
However, the government has admitted that waiting lists will continue to increase before improving, with more people who have not sought care during the ongoing pandemic are expected to come forward.
The government estimates that the waiting list for routine operations and treatments such as hip replacements and eye cataract surgery could potentially reach 13 million.
A government spokeswoman said it was clear the NHS will get what it needs to get back to regular services and provide quality patient care.
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