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Gov’t injects £5.4bn to support NHS England’s COVID-19 response

The government has announced an extra £5.4bn funding injection into the NHS in England in a bid to tackle backlogs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding will be used immediately to support the NHS in its efforts to manage the ‘immediate pressures’ caused by the pandemic.

According to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), this includes an extra £1bn to help tackle the COVID-19 backlog, while £2.8bn is earmarked for related costs such as enhanced infection control measures and £478m will go towards continuing the hospital discharge programme.

“Today’s additional £5.4 billion funding over the next 6 months is critical to ensuring the health service has what it needs to manage the ongoing pandemic and helping to tackle waiting lists,” said Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid.

“We know waiting lists will get worse before they get better as people come forward for help, and I want to reassure you the NHS is open, and we are doing what we can to support the NHS to deliver routine operations and treatment to patients across the country,” he added.

While the additional funding is for England only, the devolved administrations will receive up to £1bn in Barnett consequentials in 2021-2022, according to DHSC.

Commenting on the extra funding, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation and Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, said: “The NHS has been desperately seeking clarity on its budget for the second half of the year and the government has now delivered that certainty with this £5.4 billion announcement.”

“The NHS can now get on with the huge task it has ahead of we anticipate will be one of the most challenging winters the service has ever faced. The task for the government now is to follow up in its spending review with the extra £10 billion a year the NHS will need over the next three years to avoid patient services from being cut,” they added.