COVID impact: NHS needs extra £10bn in next financial year

·2 min read
An NHS rainbow drawn on the ground in chalk
Millions of patients risk being 'condemned to further pain and delays for their treatment,' a report has found. Photo: Getty Images

The NHS will need £10bn ($13.8bn) in extra funding next year, two organisations representing frontline staff have said, ahead of the government’s upcoming spending review.

NHS Confederation and NHS Providers said that the health system will require between £4bn and £5bn to cover the extra costs of COVID-19.

It will also require between £3.5bn and £4.5bn every year for the next three financial years to recover the backlog that the pandemic created in areas such as elective surgery, cancer, mental health and community services.

These funds will be needed in addition to the costs of the government's commitments to build 40 hospitals and reform the social care system, as well as the ongoing central government bill for COVID-19 activities like Test and Trace and the vaccination programme.

Chris Hopson, CEO of NHS Providers, said: "COVID-19 is a once-in-a-generation global shock, the seismic impact of which is unlike anything the service has experienced in its 73-year history."

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The report added that the government needs to keep in mind that over the last 18 months, trusts have not been able to make the annual 1.1% efficiency savings assumed in the existing NHS five-year budget, and that returning to this level of savings will take time.

The organisations warned that millions of patients risk being “condemned to further pain and delays for their treatment” if the government fails to recognise the full scale of the impact COVID-19 has had on the NHS.

The report is based on a survey of England's 213 hospital, mental health, community and ambulance trusts, which spend nearly two-thirds of the NHS budget.

"Trust leaders are worried that anything short of £10bn next year will force them to cut services," said Matthew Taylor, CEO of the NHS Confederation.

"They are worried that, despite best efforts at the frontline, the 13 million waiting list they are desperate to avoid will become inevitable. And this backlog will take five to seven, not two to three, years to clear."

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