NHS to get £5.4 billion boost to tackle Covid and patient backlog

6 September 2021, 17:59 | Updated: 6 September 2021, 18:34

The NHS will get £5.4bn to tackle Covid and the patient backlog
The NHS will get £5.4bn to tackle Covid and the patient backlog. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

The NHS is about to receive billions of pounds amid fears about patient backlogs caused by Covid.

A total of £5.4 billion will be put into the service to tackle waiting lists and support the response to coronavirus as winter approaches.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "The NHS was there for us during the pandemic - but treating Covid patients has created huge backlogs.

"This funding will go straight to the frontline, to provide more patients with the treatments they need but aren't getting quickly enough."

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"We will continue to make sure our NHS has what it needs to bust the Covid backlogs and help the health service build back better from the worst pandemic in a century."

The Government said it takes its investment into health services dealing with Covid-19 to £34 billion this year. The new money will be given out over the next six months.

Within the £5.4 billion, an extra £1 billion will go to tackling the backlog, £2.8 billion will go to keeping staff and patients safe from coronavirus through measures including infection control, and £478 million will go towards discharging patients to free up beds.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: "The NHS has been phenomenal as it has faced one of the biggest challenges in its history.

"Today's additional £5.4 billion funding over the next 6 months is critical to ensuring the health service has what it needs to manage the ongoing pandemic and helping to tackle waiting lists.

"We know waiting lists will get worse before they get better as people come forward for help, and I want to reassure you the NHS is open, and we are doing what we can to support the NHS to deliver routine operations and treatment to patients across the country."

The Government said the size of the waiting list for routine operations and treatments like hip replacements and eye cataract surgery could hit 13 million.

It expects the number to rise as people who did not seek care during the pandemic begin getting help.

The funding, which applies for England, will see devolved administrations receive up to £1 billion via the Barnett Formula over the next year.

Amanda Pritchard, NHS chief executive, said: "This funding provides welcome certainty for the NHS, which has pulled out all the stops to restore services, while caring for thousands of seriously ill Covid patients requiring hospital treatment during the toughest summer on record."