Rishi's coronavirus plan: Ministers terrified of double hit amid Winter Flu flare up
CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak is ready to pump billions of pounds into the NHS to protect it from a coronavirus spike. Health chiefs are putting plans in place in case there is a flare-up on top of the usual winter flu surge.
Mr Sunak has agreed in principle to a cash injection and will sign off the money once NHS leaders produce detailed records showing what they need and how much it will cost. The documents have not yet been submitted but talks are already under way with the Treasury. Sources said the government stands by its commitment at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis to give the NHS whatever it takes.
Health service leaders are believed to have told the Treasury they need an extra £10 billion.
NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said there could be "very significant" extra costs later this year as the services prepares to deliver its “biggest ever” flu vaccination campaign, spend more on personal protective equipment (PPE) and sustain extra hospital beds.
He added: “The signs are that we will get the support we need."
Sir Simon said he wanted to see frontline health service staff "properly rewarded" for their work but pay rises would have to be decided by the government.
The chief executive also called for plans to overhaul social care within a year.
He said the pandemic had shone a "very harsh spotlight" on the "resilience" of the system and long-term funding is needed.
"If any good is to come from this," Sir Simon said, "in my opinion, we must use this to resolve once and for all to actually properly resource and reform the way in which social care works in this country.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to find a cross-party solution to funding social care after previous Labour and Conservative governments failed to resolve the issue.
Proposals to ease the strains on the service will be produced by the government, officials said.
Sir Simon said: "The reality is that after at least two decades of talking about it, we do not have a fair and properly resourced adult social care system with a proper set of workforce supports."
He added: "I would hope by the time we are sitting down this time next year on the 73rd birthday of the NHS that we have actually, as a country, been able to decisively answer the question of how are we going to fund and provide high-quality social care for my parents' generation."