Health

PM to give ‘significant’ cash to the NHS

NHS wardImage copyright PA

The NHS will receive a “significant increase” in its budget to coincide with the service’s 70th birthday, the health secretary has said.

In an interview with the Guardian, Jeremy Hunt said Prime Minister Theresa May was “unbelievably committed” to “sustainable funding increases”.

However, it is understood that the deal is still far from finalised.

It comes as NHS Trusts in England reported their financial deficits were £960m, nearly twice what was planned.

Former health minister Lord Darzi said NHS England needed £50bn more by 2030.

Mr Hunt is lobbying the prime minister for a 4% annual increase in funding to cope with added pressures.

But according to the Guardian, the Treasury has said anything above 2% or 2.5% is unaffordable.

Mr Hunt told the newspaper: “I’ve been making the NHS’s case that we need significant and sustainable funding increases to meet the demographic challenges we face, and the prime minister completely appreciates that.”

But Mr Hunt conceded he would not be able to boost the number of GPs in England by 5,000 by 2020.

Analysis

By Hugh Pym, BBC News health editor

Jeremy Hunt says he’s arguing for a significant spending boost for the NHS and the prime minister “appreciates that”.

But he’s battling to get the Treasury to agree a figure in what are understood to be tense and difficult negotiations.

The leading health think tanks have called for annual real terms funding increases of 4% to ensure the NHS can cope with demographic pressures and improve services.

But the Treasury, mindful of the pressures on public finances, is holding to a range of 2.5-3%.

There’s haggling over what efficiency savings the NHS should be told to make.

A long term plan for the NHS has been promised in time for the 70th anniversary next month. But it seems there’s still a lot of work to do.

Mr Hunt said: “I got quite widely ridiculed when I made the pledge in 2015. I wanted to nail my colours to the mast of getting more GPs into the system.

“But it has been harder than we thought.”

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Jeremy Hunt is the longest serving health secretary in the history of the NHS

According to reports in the paper the announcement of the funding increase will coincide with the 70th anniversary of the creation of the NHS on 5 July.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44392152

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