The NHS is expected to recieve a £2 billion boost when the Chancellor makes his Autumn Statement on Wednesday (December 3).
George Osborne will announce that extra funding will be made available to the NHS from April 2014, to help the day-to-day work of doctors and nurses across primary and secondary care sectors.
He will also suggest the Conservatives may be willing inject more money into transforming the NHS over the next parliament should they be re-elected in May.
The extra financing comes after the publication of the Five Year Forward View and the suggestion by Simon Stevens, head of NHS England, that the NHS would need an extra £1.5 billion a year to avoid a ‘crisis.’
Stevens welcomed the news of extra funding saying that “today represents an extremely welcome vote of confidence in the NHS’ own five year plan.
“Sustaining a high quality health service in the years ahead will therefore require both challenging new efficiencies and genuine new investment.”
“That’s the case I’ve been making on behalf of the NHS to government, and today they’ve listened and responded with the funding we need for next year to sustain frontline NHS services and kick-start transformation.”
Stevens set out the Five Year Forward View to modernise health services and tackle diseases linked to obesity, with plans such as cash prizes for those who lose weight and tax discounts for volunteers who help care for the sick.
The Chancellor said he is backing the reforms, which aim to help reduce the £30 billion funding shortfall by 2021.
The £2 billion for the health service from April next year, represents an above inflation increase in the NHS budget by 1.5%.
While this announcement is welcomed by healthcare professionals, many believe that it is only the first step on the road to NHS recovery.
Dr Mark Porter, chair of the British Medical Association, said: “The chancellor’s announcement that more funding will be allocated to the NHS is an encouraging step forward.
“Despite this announcement, the NHS continues to face a number of challenges, with staff shortages, especially in emergency care, remaining a cause of concern We need this announcement to be the start of a long term programme of investment in the NHS that is backed by all policymakers so that patients continue to get the care they deserve and need.”
Nuffield Trust Chief Executive Nigel Edwards said: “…boost to general NHS funding will allow organisations and staff some respite from fire-fighting, and make progress where reform is underway.
“However, it is only around the sum which will be needed to match the growing costs and demand for treatment – we still need to ensure local leaders have the time and money for long term reform.”
Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive the Royal College of Nursing said “The money must go to the right places – including community care and mental health services, as well as hospitals.
“However, there’s overwhelming evidence that the NHS still needs a plan for long-term, sustainable investment. An announcement of an extra £2 billion six months ahead of an election may be good politics, but it won’t be enough to plug the budget gap of £30 billion that’s expected to open up in the NHS over the course of the next Parliament.”