£700 million to support NHS this winter

The Department of Health and Social Care has announced that hospitals will benefit from a share of £700 million to help tackle waiting lists and improve care.

The funding, to be split across all regions in England, will help reduce waiting times for patients by expanding the number of operating theatres and beds, including new day surgery units to prevent people staying overnight and investment in technology to improve their experiences of care and help them manage their conditions.

The allocations for the £700 million announced today include £330 million for upgrading NHS facilities, £250 million for new technology and £120 million for any supporting revenue costs. In total, 785 schemes have been approved.

It will cover the costs of: additional day surgery units to boost activity and avoid patients having to stay overnight or longer; additional permanent and modular theatres and surgical hubs in multiple trusts to drive up the number of operations which can be carried out; expanding outpatient space for those not staying overnight, to increase the numbers of patients that can be seen; and upgraded or new imaging equipment, including MRI and mobile breast screening units.

The government is also publishing a document setting out the key challenges facing NHS and social care services this winter, including coronavirus and the potential threat of variants, preparations being undertaken to keep people safe and healthy, as well as the actions the public can take.

The investment is part of the £5.4 billion already announced to support the NHS response to the pandemic in the second half of the year. In total, the government is investing over £34 billion of additional funding in health and social care services this year.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Ahead of what is going to be a difficult winter, we’re putting everything behind our health and care services, so everyone can access the services they need, when they need them. Our £700 million investment will help more people get treated over the coming months by upgrading wards, operating theatres, and diagnostic kit.

“We’re taking unprecedented steps to keep people healthy this winter, putting the booster roll-out on steroids, and delivering the largest flu vaccine programme in UK history. We can all play our part in the national mission – when you get the call, please get the jab.”