Nick Bosanquet, professor of health policy at Imperial College London, said: 'The Treasury seems to have forgotten the key lesson across all parties of the past 15 years - you cannot quick-fix the NHS by throwing money at it. The NHS bucket has too many holes at the bottom. '

'The gains for patients will depend on whether the money is spent in the next few months on extra services from public-private partnership. If the chancellor sees himself as a funder, not a provider, this would indeed be a key moment.

'Shrewd managers will spend this money quickly. At the first hint of recession it may look unsustainable. '