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NHS: Finance

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 118003, tabled on 19 November 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure the financial sustainability of the NHS.

Answered on

24 November 2020

The NHS Long Term Plan was backed by significant Government investment that would see funding rise to circa £33.9 billion per year by 2023-24. This gave the National Health Service the certainty they needed to deliver on the objectives of that plan, which included a financial regime that would see all organisations in the NHS return to financial balance by 2023/24. We had seen good progress in the first year of that plan, with around 50% fewer deficits reported in NHS trusts and foundation trusts in 2019-20.

Into 2020/21, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been clear from the outset that the NHS will get whatever it needs to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The response to COVID-19 has included suspension of the usual financial framework and replaced with a temporary regime that reduced burdens on the NHS allowing for focus on the COVID-19 response. The approach has been supported by significant funding packages that include:

- £31.9 billion for healthcare as set out in the summer Economic Update;

- a further circa £16.4 billion announced in September including a £3 billion package to support increased winter capacity initiatives; and

- a further £2.7 billion for NHS systems through the rest of the financial year.

Planning has started on creating a 2021/22 financial regime that builds on 2020/21, with any funding in addition to the Long Term Plan settlement subject to the current Spending Review.