Rishi Sunak’s budget this week will include an extra £5.9 billion of spending for the health service over the next few years to drive down waiting lists, the finance ministry said on Sunday.
The sum comes on top of an 8 billion pound package announced in September to tackle backlogs built up over the COVID-19 pandemic says the Treasury.
The spending is aimed at increasing what is termed elective activity in the National Health Service (NHS) – such as scans and non-emergency procedures – by 30% by the 2024/25 financial year.
It comprises £2.3 billion for testing services, £2.1 billion to improve the technology behind the health service, and £1.5 billion to increase bed capacity.
“This is a game-changing investment in the NHS to make sure we have the right buildings, equipment and systems to get patients the help they need and make sure the NHS is fit for the future,” Sunak said in a statement.
Sajid Javid, the health secretary said: “This £6bn investment will support the delivery of millions more checks, scans and procedures for patients across the country.
“Business as usual won’t be enough, that’s why we are going to reform care with more community diagnostic centres, new surgical hubs and the latest technology to help recover NHS services by tackling waiting lists.”
Meanwhile the Chancellor has hinted that public sector pay will rise in this week’s Budget. ending last year’s public sector pay freeze, with wage increases for 2.6 million workers including teachers, police and civil servants.
The Chancellor said he would set out a “new pay policy” on Wednesday, after imposing the freeze last November from which only NHS staff and public servants earning less than £24,000 were exempted.