Theresa May today unveiled plans to plough extra money into the NHS with a ‘long term plan’ to address budget shortfalls.
The Prime Minister used an appearance in front of the Commons Liaison Committee to announce the Government accepted it could no longer top up the health service budget each winter.
Mrs May insisted she was personally committed to the NHS and relied on it every day because of her diabetes.
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens welcomed the announcement tonight as ‘very welcome, timely and significant’.
Theresa May (pictured today at the Commons Liaison committee) unveiled plans to plough extra money into the NHS with a ‘long term plan’ to address budget shortfalls
The Prime Minister used an appearance in front of the Commons Liaison Committee (pictured) to announce the Government accepted it could no longer top up the health service budget each winter
Mrs May gave no figures for any increase in spending but her pledge comes after it emerged Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt was pressing for a 10-year NHS plan.
Mrs May said the increased funding would be unveiled before the long-awaited spending review across Whitehall – admitting the NHS could not wait another year.
Mrs May said the Government needed to get away from annual top-ups of the health service budget.
She said: ‘Funding isn’t the only answer. I think there are some other important elements we need to look at.’
The PM said there needed to be accountability for ‘every pound that is spent’.
‘There is another element, which is about looking at how we can all take more responsibility for our health so that the pressures on the NHS are reduced.’
Mrs May said there are ‘serious cost and demand pressures’ on the health service as she appeared before the Commons Liaison Committee.
Mrs May said she hopes ‘no-one doubts my personal commitment’ to the NHS.
‘I rely on the NHS every day as a diabetic,’ she added. ‘I’m eternally grateful to the NHS.’
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens (file image) welcomed the announcement tonight as ‘very welcome, timely and significant’
Mr Stevens said: “The Prime Minister’s announcement of a funded long term plan for the NHS this year is very welcome, timely and significant.
“The NHS celebrates seven decades of service this July, at a time of great pressure on frontline staff and great promise for improved care.
‘So now is absolutely the right time to recommit to all that’s best about our NHS, while also accelerating and capitalising on the huge promise of medical advance for the decade ahead.
“Charting a multi-year path for modern efficient and sensibly funded health and social care, could mean huge gains for cancer patients, mental health services and support for frail older people, as well as the several million nurses, doctors and other care staff who devote their lives to looking after us.”
The Health and Social Care Secretary said on Sunday it was premature to speculate that a £4 billion-a-year boost will be announced, amid reports the Government could back a ring-fenced tax rise to generate funds.
But he said a long-term deal would allow proper planning to train the staff needed to cope with the challenges of Britain’s ageing population.
Almost 100 MPs have written to the Prime Minister urging her to set up a Parliamentary Commission on the long-term funding.
This would establish whether to raise taxes and, specifically, if there should be a ring-fenced levy for health and social care.
Mrs May gave no figures for any increase in spending but her pledge comes after it emerged Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt (file image) was pressing for a 10-year NHS plan
On Sunday Mr Hunt said tax increases were the only way to provide extra cash for such services.
Mr Hunt told ITV’s Peston on Sunday: ‘We are a taxpayer-funded system so in the end if we are going to get more resources… it will have to come through the tax system.
‘If you ask the public…they are very clear they would like to see more money going to the NHS and they would be prepared to see some of their taxes going into the NHS.’
However, he was clear the service would also need to tackle inefficiencies. Last week Mr Hunt warned that elderly patients were being treated like ‘tasks’ on a to-do list in the failing social care system.