Government announces NHS capital investment

Two weeks into his premiership, Boris Johnson has announced extra funding for the NHS, however some in the NHS have expressed scepticism that the money will have a major impact.

The funding will form part of an extra £1.8 billion package, according to the Prime Minister.

This money represents capital investment – spending on buildings, infrastructure and major investment – which are distinct from day-to-day running or staffing costs.

A major funding announcement for NHS running costs was announced a year ago, and formalised as part of the Long Term Plan, however this is the first major announcement for some time on any increased funding for capital costs.

In making the announcement, the Prime Minister said:

“Today I’m delivering on this promise with a £1.8 billion cash injection – meaning more beds, new wards, and extra life-saving equipment to ensure patients continue to receive world-class care.

“It’s time to face up to this challenge and make sure the NHS receives the funds it needs, to continue being the best healthcare service in the world.”

However, some stakeholders have responded to the news with scepticism over whether the funding is ‘new’, and whether the scale of the investment is sufficient to achieve a meaningful impact.

Independent health charity the Health Foundation commented:

“…years of under-investment in the NHS’s infrastructure means this extra money risks being little more than a drop in the ocean”

In addition, the NHS Confederation has written to the Prime Minister urging action on major areas in health and social care.

The letter warns the Prime Minister to address challenges on NHS staffing and lack of investment which put the NHS’s delivery plan in jeopardy.

Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, Niall Dickson, said:

“The prime minister’s to-do list is full with NHS issues that need solving now”, citing “social care is a national disgrace, NHS pension inflexibilities are lengthening waiting times and a lack of capital funding is hampering hospitals trying to improve services for patients.”

Further to this announcement on funding, the Government has also scrapped plans to offer paid-for DNA sequencing to healthy people.

These plans, originally announced early this year, have now been dropped in favour of a new scheme to recruit 5 million healthy volunteers.

According to the fresh announcement, published in a green paper last week:

“The commitments outlined in this green paper signal a new approach to public health. One that involves a new personalised, prevention model. It will mean the government, both local and national, working with the NHS, to put prevention at the centre of our decision-making.”

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Published 7. August 2019 in News, News UK