The NHS is asking the government to provide an extra £10bn in funding next year, after a joint report by NHS Providers and the NHS Confederation set out the full scale of the running costs facing the health service.
The NHS say the extra funding is needed to cover costs that arose as a result of the pandemic, such as PPE, extra cleaning and temporary staff to replace those who are sick or self-isolating. These costs alone, they say, have increased spending by £4-5 billion a year.
Extra funding will also be needed to tackle the backlog of patients waiting for operations and treatment, including those who require mental health support.
The NHS say that without this extra funding, cuts to services may have to be made and the quality of care with fall, putting thousands of patients’ lives at risk.
“The Government has a moral duty to commit to giving the NHS ‘whatever it needs’”
In response to the findings of the report, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said that the consequence of the “exceptional circumstances of Covid-19” will require “exceptional levels of funding”.
“The BMA has calculated that it will cost at least £4.9 billion to tackle the non-Covid care backlog; £9 billion capital funding to cover overdue maintenance costs - £4.7 billion of which is needed to address issues that present a high or significant risk to patients and staff; at least £4.2 billion capital funding for wholesale digital transformation; and £1 billion capital funding for GP premises in order for the health service to get through Covid-19 and ensure that it can meet future demands.
“The Government has a moral duty to commit to giving the NHS ‘whatever it needs’ as per the Chancellor's own words. Failing to provide adequate resources will result in more patients suffering, their health deteriorating, and in many cases not surviving.”
Waiting lists could more than double
The government has reportedly planned a budget of £140 billion for the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), however, the NHS warns that without this extra £10 billion, waiting lists could more than double.
In response, a government spokesperson said: “We are committed to making sure the NHS has everything it needs to continue providing excellent care to the public as we tackle the backlogs that have built up during the pandemic.
“This year alone we have already provided a further £29bn to support health and care services, including an extra £1bn to tackle the backlog.”