The NHS will receive £3.8 billion by the end of 2016, the chancellor George Osborne has announced, ahead of his spending review tomorrow.
This forms part of the £8 billion that was promised by Osborne in April as part of the Conservative party manifesto.
The NHS will be boosted with £3.8bn in 2016/17, £1.5bn in 2017/18, then smaller increases of £1.5 billion in 2017/18, and £0.5 billion in 2018/19 and £0.9 billion in 2019/20.
The Treasury’s statement read: “As the NHS faces growing demands from an ageing population, it will also allow the development of better out of hospital services that will see more people treated closer to home, give patients greater control over their own care, and help prevent people getting seriously ill in the first place.
The additional investment will deliver a truly 7-day health service, with the services people need being offered in hospitals at the weekend and people able to access a GP at evenings and weekends.”
It also pledged that by 2020, everyone will be able to access GP services in the evenings and at weekends, and that by 2018, there will be 7-day coverage in all key hospital services for half the population, rising to 100% by 2020.
The additional funding will also be used to offer 800,000 more operations and treatments on the NHS, 2 million more diagnostic tests, 5.5 million more outpatient appointments and up to £2 billion more spent on new drugs, the Treasury announced.
In response, Doctor Maureen Baker, chair of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), said that the college welcomes the government’s decision to answer the call from NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens for major new investment.
She commented: “It is particularly significant that ministers have decided to front load the new investment, as was urgently requested by Mr Stevens – and we hope the injection of new resources will mean that NHS England’s ground-breaking vision for a sustainable NHS, the Five Year Forward View, can quickly now become a reality.”