Government confirms £5.9 billion funding boost to tackle NHS backlogs

October 26th, 2021

The Government has confirmed the NHS in England will receive a funding injection worth almost £6 billion to tackle backlogs. The announcement comes as Chancellor Rishi Sunak prepares to reveal the latest Budget.

Health secretary, Sajid Javid, said that the £5.9 billion is new funding, which will be directed towards clearing backlogs of patients waiting for scans, assessments and tests. Money will also be used to invest in new technology, digitisation and IT equipment to speed up processes.

Mr Javid explained that the money had been made available in addition to extra funding for the NHS and social care worth £12 billion per year, which was announced in September.

Rishi Sunak will provide more information about the additional funding and where the money is coming from on Wednesday 27th October as part of the Budget and Spending Review.

The pandemic has contributed to a huge backlog in patients who are waiting for tests and scans and the latest statistics show that over 5 million people are waiting for hospital treatment in England. This is the highest figure on record.

The government has suggested that £2.3 billion of the £5.9 billion fund will be used to pay for more diagnostic tests, including CT and MRI scans and ultrasounds.

Almost £2 billion will be made available for new beds, equipment and the creation of surgical hubs and just over £2 billion will be provided for IT and digital technology. Health services in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland will also be given additional funding.

News of extra money to tackle ever-growing backlogs has been welcomed by health bodies, but some have also voiced concerns about staff shortages and the ability to carry out more tests and treat more patients with vacancies left unfilled.

Some NHS workers have also expressed worries over staff shortages. Radiographer, Christopher Rigby, from Yorkshire, said that there are not enough employees to staff the existing hospitals, let alone new centres that have been promised by ministers.

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