Prime Minister sets out £20.5bn-a-year NHS plan in Royal Free speech
- Credit: PA
Theresa May paid tribute to the founding principles of Hampstead’s Royal Free Hospital, as she launched her £20.5 billion-a-year decade long plan for the health service this morning.
She said the story behind its foundation, where surgeon William Marsden found a dying girl on the steps of St Andrew Church, in Holborn in 1828 underpinned the NHS’s approach.
Marsden founded the Royal Free after finding the girl. The new hospital, initially in Holborn gave sick and ill people access free healthcare.
The prime minister said: “More than a hundred years before the National Health Service was conceived, William Marsden set up the Royal Free to help individuals who needed it.
“It was free at the point of use, this became the defining creed of the NHS.”
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Speaking days after the funding pledge was announced, Mrs May said the money would be found from a “Brexit dividend”, extra money from the economy growing, and increased taxes.
However she insisted any tax rises would be “fair and balanced”.
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She continued: “despite more funding, more doctors and more nurses, and great progress on treatments, our NHS is under strain.
“We cannot continue to put a sticking plaster on the NHS budget each year,” she said.
The extra funding will start to be provided from next year, until 2023/24.
There will also be more cash to cover a pensions gap in the NHS.
The prime minister was joined at the announcement by her chancellor, Philip Hammond and health secretary Jeremy Hunt. They had a tour of the hospital before the announcement, and had the chance to meet and speak to staff.
She also said there may be a reform of health service regulation, including the internal market for commissioning treatment, which have been criticised by NHS leaders.
It has been hoped that there was set to be increased funding for the health service to help mark its 70th birthday, this year.
However the idea of a Brexit bonanza has been branded “tosh” by Conservative chair of the commons health committee, and the Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has said extra funds after Brexit won’t materialise because of the “divorce bill” totalling up to around £39bn.