health

Budget 2021: £6billion boost for health — as Sajid Javid admits ‘a lot more staff’ are needed



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ajid Javid admitted that “a lot more” staff are needed for the NHS as it deals with waiting lists close to six million, an ageing population and growing demands linked to medical advances.

The Health Secretary announced nearly £6 billion of capital investment over three years including £2.3 billion to transform diagnostic services and £2.1 billion to improve digital systems in hospitals and mental health centres.

Mr Javid told Times Radio on Monday: “In the last year, I’m pleased that we’ve seen I think 3,000 more doctors, 9,000 more nurses, but we do need a lot more.”

He stressed this was being addressed by the £12 billion-a-year boost for the NHS and social care, being paid for mainly by the 1.25 percentage point rise in National Insurance contributions.

However, many hospitals and surgeries are struggling to recruit staff, partly due to fewer EU workers after Brexit.

Richard Murray, head of health think tank The King’s Fund, told BBC Radio 4: “It’s odd that as we look towards the future this one great big keystone — how we’re going to handle NHS workforces and health and social care staffing — is still the missing piece.”

Currently, some 5.7 million people are on NHS waiting lists and this could rise to seven million. Mr Javid said it is “impossible to know” whether the NHS backlog will be cleared within three years despite the extra spending.

He also said he is “leaning towards” making Covid jabs compulsory for staff in England, with around 100,000 NHS workers not fully vaccinated.

The public sector pay freeze was expected to end and the national minimum and living wages to rise.

An extra £1.5 billion to boost a fund for transport infrastructure outside London to £7 billion as part of the Government’s “levelling up” agenda.



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