NHS budgets set to be cut by £500MILLION to cover cost of Covid testing

NHS budgets set to be cut by £500MILLION to cover cost of Covid testing

NHS budgets are set to be slashed by £500million to help cover the cost of Covid testing.

Health chiefs say the Treasury has demanded eye-watering savings as the cost of the pandemic bites.

But they warn cost-cutting could mean more Brits get stuck on waiting lists if it slows down hospitals’ recovery.

Julian Kelly, chief financial officer for NHS England, told a board meeting: “We have been asked to see if we can cut core NHS funding – probably to the tune of about £500m.

“That would involve slowing down transformation programmes and re-phasing some of the long-term plan.”

The total NHS budget is around £136billion per year.

Hospital bosses said the latest cut, for the 2022-23 financial year, will eat into funding boosts promised by the government.

They added the health service will suffer a double-whammy with inflation stripping another £1bn out of the purse next year.

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Saffron Cordery, deputy chief of NHS Providers, said: “The NHS is being left to pick up the Covid bill against a backdrop of rising cases and hospital admissions.

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“A cut as substantial as £500m creates a very real risk of trade-offs, which could affect the ability to increase hospital activity and improve the quality of patient care.”

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