During the Budget, the Chancellor announced an initial £5 billion response fund to ensure the NHS and public services have the resources they need to tackle Covid-19.
The over-riding object is to protect life and protect our NHS – we have a plan, based on the expertise of world-leading scientists, and we have already bought valuable time for our NHS to prepare.
We are taking all of the action necessary to ensure the NHS has what it needs to deal with Covid-19. This includes an initial response fund of £5 billion and additional funding for research into test and surveillance around the virus.
The NHS will be at the frontline of our efforts against Covid-19, and we will ensure that whatever it needs, it will get.
We are doing this by:
Providing any extra resource the NHS needs to tackle the virus. We have created a new £5 billion Initial COVID-19 Response Fund so the NHS can treat coronavirus patients; councils can support vulnerable people; and ensure funding is available for other public services.
Bolstering NHS 111 to provide advice to people who need it. While people with mild symptoms should not call NHS 111, we need to make sure the service is available for those who need it, with severe symptoms or if they are not getting better after 7 days. Around 500 additional call handlers have already been trained to staff the NHS 111 service, representing an increase of 20 per cent. In addition, the new NHS 111 online service is also available to provide advice and will free up call handlers’ time, so they are able to prioritise those experiencing symptoms.
Researching the virus to look for cures and better testing methods. We have provided £40 million of new funding to enable further rapid research in COVID-19, with the aim of increasing the capacity and capability of testing and surveillance.
Working with international partners to tackle the virus. We will provide a contribution of up to £150 million to the International Monetary Fund’s Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust, to help the effort to stop further transmission, including into the UK.
Conservative record on the NHS:
Opening extra hospital beds at a record rate this winter – made possible by 8,700 extra nurses working across the NHS. There were over 1,000 more hospital beds open over winter this year than last year.
Providing the biggest cash boost in history for the NHS and enshrining that increase in law, to safeguard it for future generations. We are investing an additional £33.9 billion in frontline NHS services every year by 2023-24, the largest and longest funding settlement in the history of the NHS.10
Building 40 new hospitals and upgrading 20 more, ensuring extra funding for the NHS goes straight to the front line. We are providing £2.7 billion to build 6 new hospitals straight away and seed funding for another 34 more to be built by the end of the decade, as well as £1.8 billion for 20 hospital upgrades and a further £200 million for new MRI and CT scanners across the country.
Delivering on our promises with £5.4 billion more for the NHS and health service – writing the cheque for 50,000 more nurses and 50 million more GP surgery appointments per year. We have already started the process of enshrining our record cash boost into law, but will now go further by investing £5.4 billon in this Parliament to support the recruitment, retraining and retaining of 50,000 more nurses, including a new nursing maintenance grant for all nursing students.
Delivering more doctors and nurses since last year. In November 2019 (the latest month for which statistics are available) there were 5,305 more doctors in the NHS than a year earlier – an increase of 4.4 per cent and of 344 from the previous month. The latest data also shows we have record numbers of nurses working in our NHS – up by over 8,000 on the same time last year.
Since 2010, we have delivered over 20,000 more doctors, 18,500 more nurses, midwives and health visitors, and 4,900 more paramedics.