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NHS Leaders Will Make Best Use of Extra Funding but Soaring Inflation Means the NI Levy is Now Worth Less

The Department of Health and Social Care has announced that from today (Wednesday 6 April), the Health and Social Care Levy will come into effect and begin to raise billions to help tackle the Covid backlogs and reform the adult social care system.

In response, Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said: “Health leaders will never take for granted the additional funds that have been given to the NHS and they will do everything within their power to put it to best use for their patients.

“However, the simple truth is that with rising costs and inflation, on top of the NHS having to absorb Covid costs that were previously paid for by the Government, the new levy is now worth, and will deliver, less.

“The Government must wake up to the reality that the ambitious targets accompanying this extra investment will not be possible without decisive action to improve the workforce crisis across health and social care. In England, there are currently around 110,000 vacancies in the NHS and around 105,000 in social care.

“As the country learns to ‘live with Covid’, the NHS is seeing the impact of this with one in thirteen people now infected with the virus in England and hospital admissions close to the peak seen in January. This has a direct knock-on effect on the NHS’s ability to tackle waiting lists, which would not have been expected when the levy was set nearly six months ago.

“Also, it comes as social care services continue to feel exasperated that they have not received the investment they need right now to keep up with demand and deliver what their service users desperately require.

“There is an emerging gap between what the NHS and social care is being asked to deliver and the resources services have, which leaders are growing increasingly concerned about, particularly when it affects public expectations and satisfaction to the levels seen recently.”