UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has announced plans to provide $8.24bn (£6bn) funding for the National Health Service (NHS) to tackle waiting lists and improve technology in hospitals.
This funding is set to be officially announced in the UK’s Budget and Spending Review.
It will be used for diagnostic tests and operations for people who have been waiting for NHS hospital treatment in England due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
As reported by the BBC, around five million people are waiting for treatments, of which hundreds of thousands have now been waiting for more than a year.
Of the total funding, about $2.06bn (£1.5bn) will be used to increase bed capacity, as well as provide equipment and the construction of new surgical hubs, each of which will have four or five surgical theatres to tackle the waiting times for elective surgeries.
A further $3.16bn (£2.3bn) from the funding package will be used to transform diagnostic services, such as MRI, CT and ultrasound scans, to address the backlog of people awaiting check-ups, scans and tests.
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Additionally, at least 100 new community diagnostic centres are planned to be opened across England, of which 44 were already announced.
Meanwhile, a $2.88bn (£2.1bn) portion of the funding will be used to improve IT and digital health technology for efficiency and security in the NHS.
This will help by providing faster broadband to NHS staff and digitalising patient records to ensure the best care wherever required.
Rishi Sunak said in a statement: “The money would make sure we have the right buildings, equipment and systems to get patients the help they need and make sure the NHS is fit for the future.”