Budget 2017: NHS handed £350 million to cope with winter pressures

Updated: 

King's Fund warning

The "under pressure" NHS in England has been given an additional £350 million to cope with pressures over the coming winter.

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced plans to plough money into the service as it enters the difficult winter months.

Mr Hammond acknowledged that the service is "under pressure" as he committed resource funding of £2.8 billion to the NHS in England.

This includes the immediate funds for winter planning, £1.6 billion in 2018/19 and the rest the year after.

Mr Hammond said: "It is central to this Government's vision that everyone has access to the NHS free at the point of need.

"That is why we endorsed and funded the NHS's Five Year Forward View in 2014.

"But even with this additional funding, we acknowledge that the service remains under pressure and today we respond.

"First we will deliver an additional £10 billion package of capital investment in frontline services over the course of this parliament to support the Sustainability and Transformation plans which will make our NHS more resilient. Investing in an NHS fit for the future.

"But we also recognise that the NHS is under pressure right now.

"I am therefore exceptionally, and outside the Spending Review process, making an additional commitment of resource funding of £2.8 billion to the NHS in England - £350 million immediately to allow trusts to plan for this winter, £1.6 billion in 2018/19 with the balance in 19/20, taking the extra resource into the NHS next year to £3.75 billion in total.

"Meaning that our NHS will receive a £7.5 billion increase to its resource budget over this year and next."

Earlier this month, NHS England boss Simon Stevens made a desperate plea for money for the health service.

He said that without more money for the NHS, the number of patients waiting to be admitted to hospital in England to have surgery will rocket to five million by 2021.

Commenting on the announcement Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine - which represents hospital doctors who look after patients admitted as an emergency who do not need surgery, said: "The additional £350 million will just about cover agency spend this winter if it has not already been earmarked or spent by trusts which are covering debts from last year."