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Chancellor gives 'exceptional' £2.8bn boost to NHS budget

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  • Philip Hammond announces £2.8bn new revenue funding for the NHS through to 2019-20
  • The health service will get £335m for winter pressures this year
  • NHS leaders have said £8bn was needed to maintain services

The chancellor has announced £2.8bn of extra revenue funding for the NHS to cope with pressures between now and the end of 2019-20.

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In his budget statement this afternoon, Philip Hammond said the new funding was “exceptional”, which suggests it is non-recurrent and cannot be budgeted for in future years.

The funding will be split over three financial years, with £335m coming this year to help cope with winter pressures.

An extra £1.6bn will be made available in 2018-19, followed by £900m in 2019-20.

NHS leaders had insisted an extra £8bn was needed over this period just to maintain day to day services, while the King’s Fund, Nuffield Trust and Health Foundation agreed £4bn was needed next year alone. NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens also appeared to support an uplift of this order.

Although it will help ease problems over the next 18 months, the non-recurrent nature of the uplift leaves uncertainty around the NHS budget in the longer term.

The extra money ensures NHS England’s budget will increase in real terms per head of population in the next two financial years, as was pledged in the Conservative manifesto. Under the previous spending review settlement there would have been a per person cut in real terms funding.

Mr Hammond also announced a £10bn “package” of capital investment, but did not offer details as to where this would come from. This was the amount pinpointed by Sir Robert Naylor in his review of NHS estates, who suggested around £6bn of the total could be raised through selling land that is surplus to requirements.

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