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NHS Long Term Plan Funding Bill enters Parliament

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, has introduced the NHS Long Term Plan Funding Bill to Parliament. The bill will enshrine in law an extra £33.9 billion every year by 2024 for the NHS to transform care.


The bill will include a ‘double-lock’ commitment that places a legal duty on both the Secretary of State and the Treasury to uphold this minimum level of NHS revenue funding over the next four years. The bill will not seek to limit the NHS in deciding how funding is spent and where. It will place a legal duty on the government to guarantee a minimum level of spending every year, rising to £148.5 billion by 2024.


In the first stage of this annual funding increase, the government has already provided an extra £6.2 billion since April 2019, following the launch of the Long Term Plan in January 2019.


The bill provides safeguards that mean the Treasury will be required to ensure the annual supply estimates for the department’s NHS budget cannot be reduced, creating a legal exception that protects frontline NHS funding for the first time.


This comes on top of the government’s recent pledges:

• To build 40 new hospitals up and down the country, backed by £2.8 billion

• To provide an extra £1.8 billion for capital spending, including £850 million for 20 hospital upgrades and urgent infrastructure projects

• To provide £450 million for new scanners and the latest in AI technology.


Prime Minister, Boris Johnson says: “I have heard loud and clear that the priority of the British people is the NHS. Guaranteeing frontline services the biggest cash boost in history is another huge step towards making sure this treasured institution has everything it needs to deliver world-class care.” 


Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock says: “With this unprecedented bill, we will enshrine in law the largest cash settlement in NHS history – bringing the total annual budget to almost £150 billion within five years. 


“This funding bill will empower the NHS and its world-class clinicians to deliver our bold plan for the NHS. They can do so safe in the knowledge this government is giving them the financial certainty and support to revolutionise prevention, detection, and treatment of thousands of patients over the coming decade.”


The Bill has been criticised by Labour’s Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, who says: “This Bill will legally cap NHS expenditure for the next four years at a level that fails to tackle the crisis of growing waiting lists for surgery, cancer treatment or mental health care – or deal with overcrowded A&Es.”


Mr Ashworth wants to see MPs vote for an amendment to the Queen’s Speech calling for: “an annual increase in overall health spending of at least 4% a year, alongside a costed long term plan for social care.”