NHS set for funding boost in Budget to clear backlog of 7.1million people | The Sun

THE NHS is set for a funding boost in today’s budget as the spending watchdog warned it does not have enough cash to clear backlogs.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay told an NHS conference in Liverpool yesterday that he will “relentlessly focus” on shrinking the wait list of 7.1million people.

He said the Autumn Statement will prove reports he had not lobbied for more health cash were “absolutely incorrect”.

A new backlog-busting tsar will be brought in to drive down waits, with top surgeon Professor Tim Briggs appointed clinical director for elective recovery.

It comes as a report by the National Audit Office warned there is a “serious risk” hospitals will fail in their mission to hit surgery and cancer targets by 2025.

Mr Barclay said: “I can absolutely confirm that we do need support to meet inflationary pressures.


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“I can assure you the Treasury wouldn’t allocate any money to a department if it didn’t need it.”

The NAO said inflation has already “eroded” the value of £14bn allocated for clearing wait lists last year.

Its report said the NHS is off-track on targets to get cancer waits back to pre-pandemic levels by March 2023 and clear the one-year waiting list by March 2025.

Even if it succeeds, patients will still face long delays because of staff shortages, it added.

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Gareth Davies, the head of the NAO, said: “There are significant risks to the delivery of the plan to reduce long waits for elective and cancer care services by 2025.”

Dr Emma Runswick, deputy chair of council at the British Medical Association, added: “Even if the government wrote a blank cheque for the recovery plan, it’s unachievable without the staff to deliver it.”

An NHS spokesperson said: “Despite concerns about what is likely to be a very challenging winter, the NHS is currently on track to deliver on its next recovery milestones.”

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