NHS funding: Theresa May unveils £20bn boost

The NHS in England is to get an extra £20bn a year by 2023, Theresa May said this would be funded partly by a “Brexit dividend”, but also hinted at tax rises. The year by year funding increases are said to be:

  • 2019-20 – 3.6%
  • 2020 – 21 – 3.6%
  • 2021-22 – 3.1%
  • 2022-23 – 3.1%
  • 2023-24 – 3.4%

Responding to Theresa May’s announcement to provide an additional £384m per week for the NHS following Brexit, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), Professor Russell Viner, said:

“At a time of unprecedented financial hardship for the national health service, Theresa May’s pledge to provide an additional £384million per week into the NHS after Brexit, is very good news indeed. Her commitment to recruit thousands more doctors and nurses is particularly welcome, especially in paediatrics where units are struggling to safely fill rotas.

An investment in children is an investment in the future of the NHS, so we look forward to further detail on how this much needed funding will be spent tomorrow, and hope Government’s plans have children and young people at its very core.”

Commenting on the Prime Minister’s remarks on the Andrew Marr show about the NHS funding settlement, Nuffield Trust Chief Executive Nigel Edwards said:

“The Government has recognised that the NHS cannot adequately care for a sicker, older population if it is lurching from budget to spending review with funding persistently lagging behind what’s needed.

“So the Prime Minister’s commitment to a multi-year funding settlement and real terms increases of 3.4% for the NHS in England is a big step forward. This should mean the NHS can finally make some longer-term plans about staffing and services and ends the decade of austerity affecting the health service that has left the NHS with substantial deficits, long waiting times and staffing shortages.

“But this increase is not quite all it seems. Because it doesn’t apply to the whole Department for Health and Social Care Budget, it leaves out spending on things like training staff, building hospitals and public health. It appears that the real figure for all spending on healthcare will be lower, closer to 3%.

“Leaving out these crucial areas will make it much harder for the NHS to realise its plans to tackle the growing crisis facing the NHS workforce and to shift towards a focus on preventing ill health. While there are reports this will be addressed at the Budget, firm assurances are needed well before then.

“What’s more, this settlement is significantly lower than the 4% we, and many others, said was needed as a minimum to prevent deterioration in patient care. While a welcome respite, it will not equip the NHS to make much-needed changes to services, adopt new technologies, or expand the workforce. The Prime Minister’s ambition to create a world-class health service will be difficult to achieve with spending increases of less than the historic average.

“Today’s announcement marks real progress in getting the NHS back on its feet. But the health service and its patients should not yet breathe a sigh of relief.”