• DHSC says £220m could be raised through increased charges for migrants
  • Department refuses to explain where the rest of the extra funding is coming from
  • Nuffield Trust suspects interest charges on NHS trusts are being “recycled”

The Department of Health and Social Care has declined to explain how it is funding the bulk of the £540m of additional funding for the NHS next year.

Planning guidance published by NHS England last week said an extra £540m had been “made available” by the department for 2018-19, and would be added to the additional £1.6bn announced by the Treasury in the budget last year.

A DHSC spokesman said some of this would be raised via an increase to the healthcare charges paid by temporary migrants to the UK.

In an announcement yesterday, the DHSC said doubling the charges “may provide” around £220m.

In previous years, the DHSC has propped up spending on day to day services by raiding funds intended for other priorities such as capital investment or public health services.

Sally Gainsbury, senior policy analyst at the Nuffield Trust, said: “It’s odd the department hasn’t been prepared to set out where this money is coming from.

“My suspicion is that around £200m of it will come from the interest the department has been earning from NHS trusts receiving interim cash support loans.

“That income has significantly increased over the last year, but it’s not new cash. It’s come from providers and is now likely to be recycled out to commissioners.

“The £220m windfall from the migrant surcharge looks a very optimistic assumption of how much that’s going to raise.”

The DHSC has not responded to questions about how the rest of the extra money has been raised, or where it has been reallocated from.