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The Prime Minister said the Health Service would face a double-fight later this year as it grapples with the “usual winter pressures” as well as Covid-19.
He said the funds are available immediately to keep the temporary Nightingale hospitals running until next Spring and secure private hospital beds for NHS patients with serious cases of the infection.
“It is possible that the virus will be more virulent in the winter months – and it is certain that the NHS will face the usual, annual winter pressures,” he said.
Pointing out the steps that have already been taken to prepare the NHS for winter he said that there are now 30,000 ventilators available to patients in the UK.
“We have substantially increased the pipeline of personal protective equipment for the NHS and social care – constituting over 30 billion items of PPE over the course of the pandemic,” the PM said.
“We will be rolling out the biggest ever flu vaccination programme in the history of the UK.
“And we will also of course give the NHS the resources it needs.”
As well as £3 billion of funding to the NHS in England, Mr Johnson confirmed that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will also receive additional funds.
“This will allow the NHS to continue to use the extra hospital capacity acquired from the independent sector and also to maintain the Nightingale hospitals until the end of March,” he said.
“This new funding comes on top of the additional £30 billion of funding for health and social care that we have already announced this year.”
Mr Johnson’s cash injection for the NHS in England will also help ensure hospitals and clinics can continue to carry out routine medical treatments even if the rate of coronavirus infections rises again during colder weather.
The flu vaccine is currently free to those deemed most at risk, including pregnant women, people aged over 65, carers and primary school children, with health chiefs due to set out expanded eligibility criteria shortly.
The Government is also promising extra funds for the NHS’s enhanced discharge arrangements to ensure patients can be quickly and safely discharged from hospitals and to free up beds for other patients.
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