Scottish NHS to receive '£2bn boost'

Speaking about May's announcement, the foundation's director of research and economics Professor Anita Charlesworth said: "A funding increase of £20.5 billion per year to NHS England's budget by 2023/24 is around 3.4%".

Mr Hunt said the announcement was "bold and ambitious", adding: "Some of the new investment in the NHS will be paid for by us no longer having to send annual membership subscriptions to the European Union after we have left".

May wrote in the Mail on Sunday that paying smaller contributions to the European Union budget after Brexit would free up money to spend on the NHS, while Downing Street claimed on Twitter that the commitment would be funded by a "Brexit dividend". "Let's fund our NHS instead", said the slogan, infuriating the Remain campaign which bitterly disputed the figures.

With dubious sources for funding and a deficient investment from the start, Theresa May's plans resemble more and more "a sticking plaster" than a real solution to the NHS' growing ailments.

But she added that the scale of the Government's ambition went beyond that: 'So across the nation, taxpayers will have to contribute a bit more in a fair and balanced way to support the NHS we all use'.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, health minister Jeremy Hunt said: "There's a total understanding across the government that the health and social care systems are interdependent and that to make this settlement work we also need a long-term plan for the social care system as the next step".

She said: 'We can not continue to put a sticking plaster on the NHS budget each year.

However, health chiefs have warned that rises of around four per cent are needed to improve the quality of care for an ageing population, while Labour said the announcement represented "little more than a standstill in funding".

Some of the extra money could be found by increased borrowing or cuts in spending in other public services. So it is with some concern that we read the Prime Minister's plans to fund this latest investment through a so-called "Brexit dividend".

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We need to have confidence in what's being said".

The announcement of more cash for the NHS, a regular issue at elections, comes after a row in parliament over Brexit highlighted the fragility of May's minority government.

Increases of just 3.4% a year mean longer waits for treatment, ongoing staff shortages, deterioration of NHS buildings and equipment, and little progress to address cancer care.

"But to give the NHS the funding it needs for the future, this Brexit dividend will not be enough". Any departure that involves tax increases could upset core voters and open it up to criticism from the opposition Labour Party.

On Sunday Mrs May promised that, by 2023, an extra £20bn a year will be available for the health service in England on top of any rises to keep up with inflation.

"We will listen to views about how we do this and the chancellor [Philip Hammond] will set out the detail in due to course".

  • Delores Daniels