NHS Providers says more clarity is needed around the additional funding announced today by the government for the NHS to prepare for winter pressures.
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has confirmed “an additional £3 billion” for the NHS in England, with additional, as yet unspecified sums also to be awarded to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“This will allow the NHS to continue to use the extra hospital capacity acquired from the independent sector and also to maintain the Nightingale hospitals until the end of March,” Mr Johnson said.
He added, “This new funding comes on top of the additional £30 billion of funding for health and social care that we have already announced this year.”
Deputy Chief Executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, welcomed the financial support but called for “urgent clarity” about exactly what it will cover and whether it is all new money. “Nightingale hospitals and independent sector capacity is already in place, so while helpful, will maintain current capacity,” she points out.
“Trusts need more than that. They have got to recover the lost ground of the last four or five months and put measures in place to manage the additional activity that always happens in winter.
“It is also not clear if this funding will extend to mental health, community, rehab and ITU capacity. This all needs to be in place to ensure that the whole NHS system can effectively manage the winter period and restarting of services.”
She also stressed that Trusts need to be able to lock in the innovation and transformation that has been delivered at unprecedented pace since March and which has the promise to bring lasting benefits.