Friday 13 November 2020 4:39 pm

NHS providers urge Rishi Sunak to invest extra £4bn due to Covid challenges

Staff writer

NHS providers sent a letter to Rishi Sunak today demanding he increases investment in the NHS by £4bn, in light of the upcoming public spending review on 25 November.

The letter is co-signed by Chris Hopson and Saffron Cordery, respectively the Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Executive of NHS Providers, the membership organisation for the NHS hospital, mental health, community and ambulance services.

They urge the chancellor to stick his promise to the House of Commons that the NHS would get “whatever it needs, whatever it costs”.

Data released on 12 November showed that the NHS is facing two major Covid-19-generated pressures. There is a rapidly increasing backlog of elective surgery and a surge in demand for mental health services.

Spending so far this year

The November spending review will set departmental budgets across Whitehall for the year 2021-2022.

The government has already committed to spend at least £210bn to deal with the pandemic.

The budget for the Department of Health and Social Care was due to rise to £139.8bn this year, with the NHS receiving £129.9bn. But the Treasury has already had to spend £31.9bn more on the NHS than scheduled so far this year, including £15bn on PPE and £10bn on the test-and-trace programme.

Although NHS Providers in the letter state they are aware that “the current public expenditure position is difficult”, they are requesting that Sunak allocate £3-4bn pounds needed for the NHS to meet new challenges.

The letter concludes by stating further investment in NHS capacity will reduce the risk of further lockdowns and the adverse economic impacts that come with them.