UK PM vows big funding increase for National Health Service

UK PM vows big funding increase for National Health Service

Both are considered essential to the sustainability of the NHS, but the increase announced only applied to front-line NHS services such as hospitals, Global Positioning System and mental health care.

The NHS is to get an extra £384 million a week after Brexit, Prime Minister Theresa May has said.

The Prime Minister's claim that a "Brexit dividend" will help fund the 3.4% increase in spending was widely attacked as unrealistic - even by some Conservatives.

And Paul Johnson, director of economic think-tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), said the only way the rise could be paid for was by an increase in taxes.

The NHS has been struggling to cope with funding shortages in recent years, particularly during the flu-ridden winter months.

But Mrs May insisted: "Some of the extra funding I am promising today will come from using the money we will no longer spend on our annual membership subscription to the European Union after we have left".

"By the end of five years, in 2023/24, the NHS (National Health Service) will be getting 20 billion pounds more in real terms that year, than it is today", May told LBC Radio in an interview, confirming overnight media reports.

A so-called "Brexit Dividend" will see extra cash flow to the NHS from the more than £9 billion a year the United Kingdom now sends to the European Union, according to Mrs May. "And we want to listen to people about how we do that, and the chancellor will bring forward the full set of proposals before the spending review".

But she added that "across the nation, taxpayers will have to contribute a bit more in a fair and balanced way to support the NHS we all use".

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The move comes as Mrs May faces another turbulent week in Parliament on the Brexit front with Tory rebels again threatening to defy her over how much influence MPs will have over any withdrawal deal.

"When we have that plan in November, we will say "This is a great plan, we accept that it is going to lead to improvements in cancer care and mental health and so on".

What kind of cash injection is the NHS getting?

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry's chief executive Mike Thompson said the funding announcement for the NHS is "very much welcome".

"Labour would have invested almost £9 billion extra this year in the NHS and social care, while asking the wealthiest and big corporations to pay their fair share of tax".

In response to the announcement of £20 billion for the NHS over the next five years the Chair of the Health Select Committee, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, said that while she welcomed the announcement it would "not deliver as planned without attention to and uplifts for public health (prevention), social care, workforce training & capital/transformation budgets".

'However, we will be scrutinising the detail of this new package of funding to assess the degree to which it will make a real difference in both the short and long term to frontline patient care'.

The PM will fill in some of the details on her proposed 10-year plan, which she will say must ensure "every penny is well spent".

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