Health bosses are already pleading for a further £1.5billion in funding, just a fortnight after No10 pushed through a £12billion tax raid to prop up the NHS.
Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers — which represents trusts across England — today asked for extra funds to fix crumbling hospitals.
She said the money would bring ‘long neglected parts of the NHS estate into the 21st Century’, with cash used to fix leaky roofs, broken boilers and faulty air conditioning units in operating theatres.
Ms Cordery insisted the separate funds are necessary because of red tape meaning the tax raid — which won’t hit millions of taxpayers until April — cannot be spent on key maintenance and infrastructure repairs.
Announcing the National Insurance hike at the start of the month, Boris Johnson said it would help the NHS get ‘back on its feet’. Waiting lists for routine treatment have spiralled to record highs over the past year, with 5.6million awaiting care in England alone.
The health service will receive the vast majority of the £36billion raised by the 1.25 per cent National Insurance hike over the next three years, with social care receiving a £5.3billion slice.
It will see people earning £50,000 a year having to pay an extra £500 annually in National Insurance.
Critics had warned pouring the money into the NHS — which also given an emergency £60billion pot on top of its annual slice of £150billion to fight Covid last year — would lead to more demands for money in the future.
NHS Providers and the NHS Confederation immediately told the Prime Minister that the extra funds were not enough at the time.
But pleading for more funds today, Ms Cordery gave no indication of how the money would raised.
NHS Providers deputy chief executive Saffron Cordery this morning pleaded for extra funds to help mend the backlog of maintenance work
Health chiefs are demanding further investment, despite the spike in funds the NHS will receive because of Boris Johnson’s £12billion National Insurance tax raid to pay for health and social care. Graph shows: The increases to core funding and additional Covid funding in the Department of Health and Social Care’s budget
Graphs show: The increase in yearly national insurance payments in each pay bracket because of the Government’s recent
PM’s £12bn tax hike ‘will be swallowed by the NHS’
The £12billion a year extra for health and social care as a result of Boris Johnson’s tax hike risks being swallowed up by the NHS, an economic think tank warned.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) warned that little might be left available for social care even once funding from the new levy is expected to shift away from the NHS.
Under the plans announced by the Prime Minister the NHS will get the bulk of the £36billion raised in the first three years, with £5.4billion for social care in England.
But that balance is expected to tip towards social care in subsequent years as the £86,000 cap on costs introduced from October 2023 starts to require funding.
The IFS suggested that the experiences of the past 40 years showed that NHS spending plans are almost always topped up, meaning that health would continue to require the bulk of the revenue raised by the new tax.
Ben Zaranko, a research economist at the IFS, said: ‘The extra funding provided for the NHS in [this] announcement will result in spending growing at 3.9 per cent a year between 2018/19 and 2024/25, exactly the same rate of growth as was planned between 2018/19 and 2023/24.
‘That suggests little or no long-term additional costs as a result of the pandemic.
‘History suggests these plans will be topped up further – they have been in almost every year for the last 40 years.
‘That could leave little if any of the tax rises announced yesterday available for social care.’
Health Secretary Sajid Javid insisted that ‘more and more’ of the money raised by the levy would go towards social care in future years.
She told Sky News the £1.5billion would be spent on fixing holes in roofs as well as making mental health wards safer.
Ms Cordery: ‘They’re really critical to both the safe and effective running of hospital services.
‘You know if the air conditioning doesn’t work in an operating theatre then you can’t use that operating theatre. So that’s out of action and we know the challenges that that brings.
‘This isn’t about the running costs, this is about the physical infrastructure and it’s also about digital transformation.
She added: ‘How do we bring NHS services fully into the 21st century and replace outdated technology.
‘We need £1.5billion a year extra on top of the £8.5billion capital budget that is already there.
‘It’s a substantial amount but it’s a really important figure because it enables us to really work at full pelt to recover that backlog of routine operations and it enables them to modernise their service and provide really safe environments.’
Asked how people could trust the extra funding would be necessary or spent wisely, Ms Saffron said the NHS is currently hamstrung by rules that dictate what it can spend on.
Hospitals and other care providers are given two separate budgets — one for day-to-day running costs and another for maintenance and long-term spending.
Current Treasury rules mean hospitals can’t use any of the funds from the impending tax hike for maintenance work, she claimed.
And caps on overall NHS spending also mean individual hospitals can’t use funds available in their own budgets if it means the health service as a whole exceeds the agreed limits.
She said: ‘There are some rules that need to be changed that would mean money that is already there could be used.
‘I think what I would say to the Treasury is we know that we need the opportunity to use the investment that is already made and new investment as effectively and efficiently as possible.
‘Because at the moment without those changes we’re actually holding the NHS back in terms of what it can do with the funds it has already got, not just new funds that are coming.
‘And I that’s really worth remembering.’
Labour’s research in 2019, before the pandemic hit, showed at least 76 NHS hospital trusts experienced safety incidents over the previous year because their buildings were outdated or falling apart.
In one gruesome example, sewage spurted out of a drain and landed on a patient’s bed, while another had human faeces seeping up through the floor.
Broken lifts have trapped staff and left patients lingering in corridors, and ceilings have caved in and only narrowly missed patients lying in beds below.
It comes after Mr Johnson announced his new £36 billion social care fund as a way to help the NHS recover from the coronavirus pandemic and reform the adult social care system so people no longer face catastrophic care costs.
Department of Health bosses said the new funding will see the NHS deliver an extra nine million checks, scans, and operations for patients across the country in a bid to try and drive down waiting times.