Theresa May comes under fire after claiming Brexit deal will mean more money for the NHS
The Prime Minister has unveiled plans to increase NHS funding by an extra £20billion a year by 2023.
To coincide with the 70th anniversary of the health service later this summer, Theresa May said the current £114billion budget would rise by 3.4% on average every year.
But the figures still work out less than the 3.7% average yearly rise the NHS has had since its inception in 1948.
The extra cash will be funded by a ‘Brexit divided’, although May also hinted that taxes may rise to cover the cost.
In an interview with the BBC, May said: “As a country we will be contributing more, a bit more, but also we will have that sum of money that is available from the European Union."
We're going to ensure there's a 10-year plan for the NHS. That will be a plan for world-class health care; more doctors, more nurses. It means extra money - significantly more money going into the NHS
The deal covers only frontline budgets overseen by NHS England.
The announcement also means extra money will also be made available for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, although it will be up to the Welsh and Scottish governments to decide how that is spent.
It is not known how it will impact on services run by other organisations including smoking cessation and obesity prevention programmes.
Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr, May said: “We're going to ensure there's a 10-year plan for the NHS. That will be a plan for world-class health care; more doctors, more nurses. It means extra money - significantly more money going into the NHS."
While campaigners have welcomed news of increased investment, there has been widespread concern about where the money will come from and whether it will help to address the current crisis.
Conservative MP, Sarah Wollaston, chairman of the health and social care select committee and a former GP, was among those to attack the plan, branding the suggestion of a dividend to fund the 3.4% increase as ‘tosh’.
And Labour leaders are claiming her figures ‘do not add up’.
Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, told Sky News the Prime Minister's proposal was flawed because the ‘Brexit dividend’ did not exist.
And, speaking to BBH today, Dr Louise Irvine, a GP in Lewisham, south London and co-chair of Health Campaigns Together, said: “The Government’s promised funding increase for the NHS is too little too late.
“It is, in fact, only 3% a year - they’ve done their usual smoke and mirrors to make it appear more by only counting the increase to the NHS England budget and not the overall Department of Health budget.
Any increase in funding is welcome, but it’s a missed opportunity to put the NHS back on its feet
“4% is the minimum increase needed. 3% won’t be enough to repair the untold damage done to the NHS over the past eight years of austerity or secure its future as a high-quality service.
“I fear that patients will continue to suffer needlessly and staff will continue to leave the profession due to stress and burnout.
“Any increase in funding is welcome, but it’s a missed opportunity to put the NHS back on its feet.