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Hospitals to get £1.8 billion to fund 'seven day' NHS
The extra funding comes as part of a front loaded investment in the NHS announced in the Spending Review, as part of a commitment to invest a total of £10 billion by the end of this Parliament.
The money is being billed as a ‘transformational fund’ to give the NHS the resources it needs to make seven day services a reality for patients and meet the ambition of the Five Year Forward View, as well as help challenged hospitals achieve financial balance.
The government has said that this funding will be dependent on trusts meeting a number of struct non-negotiable conditions. These are: agreeing with NHS England and NHS Improvement on a strong and measurable recovery plan that shows how the trust will reduce deficits and break even within a reasonable timeframe, as well as a ‘control total’ for their 2016/17 budget; developing a plan and reporting regularly on progress towards achieving the savings outlined by Lord Carter; making further progress to reduce agency spend, as part of the ongoing drive to employ fewer agency staff and more permanent staff to improve continuity of care; agreeing with NHS England and NHS Improvement a credible plan for maintaining delivery of core standards for patients; and setting out a clear and credible plan for achieving seven day services for patients throughout the country by 2020.
Sanctions will be included to ensure hospitals comply with these measures. The funding is set to be broken down into two parts, the first for providers of emergency care, and the second to be used to target providers that can deliver additional efficiencies and improvements.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “This government is committed to the values of the NHS, which is why we’re investing £10 billion in its own plan for the future, including £6 billion upfront by next year. We’re offering trusts help to improve their financial position and transform services for patients based on that planned investment, subject to strict conditions. This will allow hospitals to focus their efforts on making the NHS a truly 7 day service, offering the same excellent world class care every day of the week.”
Jim Mackey, chief executive designate of NHS Improvement, said: “The NHS is dealing with some significant challenges at the moment. This funding gives NHS providers the hope and possibility of doing things they have been unable to do this year: balance the books and deliver good emergency care performance.
“We will be working with them to ensure they get back to the levels of performance the NHS should expect and its patients deserve. Alongside this, trusts need to look at longer term transformations to meet changing patient needs over the coming years.”