This week’s Budget will include an extra £5.9bn for the NHS in England, the government has announced.
The money will be used to help clear the backlog of people waiting for tests and scans, and also to buy equipment and improve IT.
More details are due on Wednesday – but Chancellor Rishi Sunak called the money “game-changing”.
Health bodies have welcomed the cash – but said it only goes so far and staff shortages need to be fixed.
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The £5.9bn, set to be officially announced in Wednesday’s Budget and
Spending Review, is on top of the £12bn a year that was announced in September.
That money is to be raised through tax increases – the rise in National Insurance and, from 2022, the Health and Social Care Levy – and will be spent on resources such as staffing.
This new money is capital funding, and will be used to pay for infrastructure and equipment.
Some of the £5.9bn – £2.3bn – will be used to fund a big expansion of diagnostic tests, for example through more CT, MRI and ultrasound scans, the government said.
That includes opening more community clinics for scans and tests – which the government had already announced – so people can get seen closer to home.
These centres will help clear the backlog of tests by the end of this Parliament, the government said.
Also included in the £5.9bn total is:
£1.5bn to be spent on more beds, equipment and new “surgical hubs”, each with four to five surgical theatres to tackle waiting times
and £2.1bn to be spent on improving IT and digital technology within the NHS – for example, faster broadband
As part of the UK’s funding formula for the NHS, a proportionate amount will also go to the health services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“This is a game-changing investment in the NHS to make sure we have the right buildings, equipment and systems to get patients the help they need and make sure the NHS is fit for the future,” said Mr Sunak.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the money will help deliver “millions more checks, scans and procedures for patients