Boris Johnson is to inject £1.8bn into the NHS as a part of his pledge to improve 20 hospitals throughout the nation, it has emerged.
The brand new prime minister has used a lift in well being funding as a part of an try to construct a home agenda past Brexit, along with his crew effectively conscious that they may very well be compelled into an election this yr. However specialists have already warned that the fund is probably not sufficient even to cowl the upgrades Johnson has already promised.
Full particulars of the plan are set to be revealed on Monday, however it’s understood the brand new funds can be directed straight to the entrance line for brand new beds and up to date gear. Additionally it is set to incorporate upgrades to wards and a few constructing repairs.
The cash is ready to be made out there instantly, although Downing St has not revealed the place it can come from. Johnson has already made clear he’s prepared to spend extra money on public companies, utilizing the so-called “fiscal headroom” created by the earlier authorities’s spending plan. The headroom was supposed to assist the financial system within the occasion of a no-deal Brexit.
A supply mentioned: “The prime minister has been clear since day one which the NHS is a high precedence. This cash can be felt by frontline companies, by the docs and nurses whose exhausting work is invaluable, and by the sufferers they look after.”
The Vote Depart marketing campaign controversially argued that funds despatched to the EU could be used to fund the NHS as a substitute. Dominic Cummings, the Vote Depart technique chief now overseeing Johnson’s Downing St plans, mentioned such a pledge ought to have been one of many authorities’s first strikes after the Brexit vote.
Researchers on the Nuffield Belief thinktank have steered that Johnson’s promise to improve 20 hospitals would price at the least £3.2bn, based mostly on an evaluation of hospitals two years in the past.
“Based mostly on the conservative £160m price estimate per belief, the overall price for upgrading all NHS companies could be round £33bn,” tweeted Sally Gainsbury, a senior coverage analyst on the belief. “That wouldn’t all have to occur directly – it takes time to construct a brand new hospital wing in spite of everything. There have been calls to double the NHS price range for NHS funding – together with from the NHS’s personal regulator NHS Enchancment. That might take funding to round £14bn subsequent yr.”