Boris Johnson announces £1.8bn NHS cash boost for hospitals
Boris Johnson has announced plans for a £1.8bn cash injection for the NHS that will fund upgrades to hospitals.
The Prime Minister’s proposal will hand the health service in England an extra £3.5m per week and will go towards new beds and “vital new kit” as well as upgrades to wards and hospital repairs.
Around £850m - over five years - will go towards funding the 20 hospital upgrades that Mr Johnson promised in his first speech outside Downing Street.
The pledge, which will be announced formally on Monday comes on top of the £20bn yearly increase until 2023/2024 announced by Theresa May last year.
Writing in the Sunday Times he said: "It is thanks to this country's strong economic performance that we are now able to announce £1.8bn more for the NHS to buy vital new kit and confirm new upgrades for 20 hospitals across the country."
He added that he was “determined to deliver” the controversial promises of the Brexit referendum campaign to increase NHS spending.
The paper reports that the pledge will be the first of a series of announcements on boosting health spending as Britain approaches the Brexit deadline and amid speculation a snap election could be called in the coming months.
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said the money falls "significantly short of what's needed to provide quality, safe care to patients after years of Tory cuts".
"Tory ministers have repeatedly cut capital investment budgets in recent years," he said.
"These smash-and-grab raids have meant over £4bn slashed and seen the NHS repair bill spiral to £6bn putting patient safety seriously at risk."
Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Judith Jolly said: "When a no-deal Brexit hits government finances by an eye watering £90bn, Boris Johnson's pledge will not be worth the paper it's written on.
"The Conservatives have under-funded social care to the point of crisis, they have failed to address a critical staffing shortage while children's mental health services are almost non-existent.
Nuffield Trust chief executive Nigel Edwards said: "This is a welcome down payment on the staggering £6 billion needed to clear the backlog of NHS maintenance but it will only be a fraction of what it would cost to really upgrade 20 hospitals," he added.
"Nobody should expect shiny new hospitals in their towns any time soon."