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Scepticism over "new money" for NHS from government

05 August 2019

Discussion is continuing among health charities and the national media about the £1.8bn of additional funding for the NHS, announced over the weekend.

Announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, he said the additional funding would provide "more beds, new wards and extra life-saving equipment".

It is intended to provide new or updated facilities for 20 NHS trusts around England, ranging from the £12m earmarked for a laboratory information management system for Leeds Teaching Hospitals to the £99.5m to build a new intensive care block at Luton & Dunstable University Hospital.

However, industry bodies and health charities have highlighted the issues facing the NHS such as the urgent need to repair and improve a high number of its existing facilities.

Rather than funding the purchase of new equipment and construction of additional facilities, the message is that the money will - or should - be spent on repairs and maintenance affected by previous cuts in funding.

According to the BBC, Health Foundation's Ben Gershlick said NHS facilities were "in major disrepair" and £6bn in maintenance and repair costs was needed to fix this.

The King's Fund's Sally Warren said there was also a view that the money "is really reversing cuts that trusts were asked to make this year".

However, head of NHS England Simon Stevens said the funding was a "significant start" to "much needed capital investment".

The BBC said the £1.8bn additional funding represents less than 1% of the NHS annual budget.

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