£3 billion cash increase in NHS spending next year

As part of the government’s Spending Review, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a £6.3 billion cash increase in NHS spending in 2021-22, compared to 2020-1.

This means that the NHS in England has been given £3 billion extra next year to tackle the huge backlog of operations cancelled because of coronavirus and the spike in mental illness caused by the pandemic. The £3 billion will boost the Department of Health and Social Care’s budget by £6.6 billion and mean that the NHS’s revenue budget in England in 2021/22 will be £136.1 billion.

Sunak reminded MPS that next year the government intends to deliver 50,000 more nurses and 50 million more general practice appointments, as well as the biggest hospital building programme in a generation - building 40 new hospitals and upgrading 70 more.

It is believed that hospitals will spend around £1 billion of the money trying to reduce the number of people who are waiting for non-urgent surgery, such as a hip or knee replacement or cataract removal. In September the number of people forced to wait at least a year for elective care has rocketed to almost 140,000, up from 1,500 in February.

In addition to this, £500 million of the support package will go into expanding mental health care for people who could not access help when the pandemic struck, tackling both the backlog of adults referred for mental health care and to create new specialist services for under-18s.

Further money from the announcement will be directed towards expanding the NHS’s workforce and improving training.

The Chancellor also revealed that local authorities would be able to increase their core spending power by 4.5 per cent, handing extra flexibility for Council Tax and Adult Social Care precept which, together with £300 million of new grant funding, gives them access to an extra billions pounds to fund social care.