A funding package of £7 billion has been confirmed for health and social care services, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced today.
The NHS will receive £6.6 billion in additional funding over the next six months to support the continuation of the NHS response to COVID-19, and the recovery of elective services as hospitalisations continue to fall.
This brings the total package of additional support given to our health services for COVID-19 to £92 billion, with £63 billion this year and £29 billion for next year.
The NHS has faced significant challenges this winter and health and care staff have worked tirelessly on the frontline caring for thousands of COVID-19 patients while continuing to provide urgent treatment for those who need it.
Today’s £6.6 billion package will enable the NHS to continue to provide this level of support and capacity as the pandemic continues. The funding will support the hospital discharge programme, primary care costs, infection control measures and Long COVID services. It will also ensure the NHS can continue to provide the mental health and occupational health support services it has put in place to for nurses, paramedics, therapists, pharmacists, and other staff working on the frontline during the pandemic.
In addition, the government has announced an extra £341 million for adult social care to enable the continuation of rigorous infection prevention control measures and to support rapid testing to keep staff and residents safe in day care, respite care, care homes and other community care settings. This will support the protection of some of the most vulnerable in society as we begin to cautiously ease restrictions and reintroduce visits to care homes.
As hospital admissions fall and our successful vaccination programme continues, the NHS will be able to start increasing elective care procedures, such as hip replacements or cataract surgery, ensuring people across England get the care and treatment that they need. To support this, £594 million has been ring fenced to continue the hospital discharge programme so staff will have the resources needed to enable patients to leave hospital as quickly and as safely as possible, with the right community or at-home support. This will free up thousands of extra beds and staff time to help the NHS recover services.
Alongside this, an additional £87 million will provide enhanced discharge from inpatient mental health care, enabling people who are well enough to leave hospital with additional support to help them recover in the community. Funding will be available over the next nine months for short-term support, and may be used to offer support in homes, to help people cope with things like daily routines, tenancy, finances, personal care or employment, to provide temporary accommodation or to adapt homes. This funding forms part of the £500 million for mental health and the NHS workforce announced at spending review.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:
“We’ve backed the NHS at every point in this pandemic, so they can treat patients, stay safe and save lives.
“We’re backing them again today with a further £6.6 billion of funding for the first half of this financial year, including £594 million towards safe hospital discharge.
“I can announce £341 million to support Adult Social Care with the costs of Infection Prevention Control and Testing that will make sure visits are safe for everyone.
“We will also be extending enhanced discharge arrangements for mental health patients.”
The additional £341 million for adult social care takes the total infection control fund to almost £1.35 billion and support for rapid testing to £288 million, with the money helping to keep residents and staff safe while supporting visiting in line with the latest guidance. This funding is in addition to free PPE and further support for designated settings to ensure safe hospital discharge.
Today’s announcement is on top of the £3 billion announced at Spending Review 2020 to support the NHS. It is also additional to the historic long-term settlement for the NHS, which is enshrined in law and will see NHS funding increase by £33.9 billion by 2023-24 as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.
The government is continuing to support the NHS in its fight against this virus. Taken together with this new funding, the government has provided £63 billion in 2020-21 and £29 billion in 2021-22 to support health services and increased the NHS core non-COVID budget from £130 billion to £136 billion.