Tom Swarbrick 10pm - 1am
Boris Johnson announces £300m for NHS upgrades amid fears of coronavirus second wave
10 August 2020, 22:30
NHS trusts across England are to receive £300 million to upgrade their facilities amid fears of a second wave of coronavirus during winter, Boris Johnson has announced.
The Prime Minister said the additional cash would enable hospitals to maintain essential services and reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection during the coming months.
In all, 117 trusts will benefit from the funding which could be used by hospitals to increase A&E capacity, with more treatment cubicles and expanded waiting areas to ease overcrowding and improve infection control.
Announcing Mr Johnson said: "We continue to deliver on our promise to build back better and faster, with £300 million allocated today for NHS trusts to upgrade their facilities and improve A&E capacity.
"These upgrades will help our fantastic NHS prepare for the winter months, helping them to deliver essential services and reduce the risk of coronavirus infections."
The funding announcement follows a £1.5 billion plan for NHS hospitals set out by Mr Johnson in June.
The funding boost could also enable hospitals to increase the provision of same-day emergency care and improve the flow of patients through the hospital to help them to better respond to winter pressures.
Officials said the projects would be completed by the start of 2021 so that hospitals would benefit from the upgrades during the peak months of winter and be able to cope if a second wave of coronavirus were to happen.
It follows a further £3 billion cash boost for the NHS in England - with extra funding also for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - announced last month to help it to cope with the expected winter pressures.
The funding has been earmarked to enable the NHS to continue using the extra hospital capacity bought from the private sector, maintain the Nightingale hospitals until the end of March and expand its flu vaccination programme.
Mr Johnson added that it was "essential" that people who needed emergency treatment during the winter should attend hospital, confident that they will not become infected with the virus.
"Thanks to the hard work and tireless efforts of NHS staff throughout the pandemic, our A&Es have remained open for the public," he said.
"It's vital that those who need emergency treatment this winter access it, and for those who remain concerned about visiting hospitals, let me assure you that the NHS has measures in place to keep people safe."