- £6.6bn for the NHS is part of £14.5bn coronavirus emergency response fund
- In addition to £5bn coronavirus contingency fund announced by the Government in March
The NHS will receive £6.6bn from the Government’s coronavirus emergency fund, the Treasury has said.
The funding will be used to “free up hospital beds, buy new ventilators, diagnostic tests and protective equipment for NHS staff, enable home delivery of medicines and support medical and nursing students and retired doctors and nurses to join the front line”, the Treasury revealed today (13 April).
The Treasury said the £6.6bn would form part of a £14.5bn coronavirus emergency response fund for the NHS, local authorities, rail services and devolved governments.
The Government announced an initial coronavirus contingency fund of £5billion for the NHS and public services on 11 March.
The funds for the health service, alongside £1.6billion new money for local authorities, means £2.9billion has been provided to support social care and hospital discharge, the Treasury said.
The £14.5 billion of spending approved so far includes:
- £6.6 billion of support to our health services
- £1.6 billion for local authorities
- £0.9 billion to cover extra measures such as food packages for extremely clinically vulnerable people who have been advised to shield themselves from the virus at home and do not have a local network of family and friends to drop off provisions
- £3.5 billion to ensure vital rail services continue to operate now and, in the future, for those who rely upon them for essential journeys
- £1.0 billion for the Scottish Government
- £0.6 billion for the Welsh Government
- £0.3 billion for the Northern Ireland Executive
Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said the funding was “welcome and necessary,” but said the longer term implications of the pandemic “are not yet clear”.
He said: “The immediate issue is making sure the heath service and social care will not fall over in the next few weeks. Everyone involved is bracing themselves for what could be a massive wave of cases - we must hope we have done enough to prevent these services from being overwhelmed but we will not know for some time.
“When this is over the NHS will face a mountain of unmet need and as in the days following its creation in 1948, it will have to work through thousands of patients who should have been treated earlier.”