I was pleased to receive a letter from the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, outlining the Government’s determination to deliver on our manifesto commitment to the NHS. I know how important the NHS and Wycombe Hospital are to my constituents, and was delighted to have Matt visit Wycombe Hospital back in November to discuss investment in transformational digital technology and our estate.
As part of the Queen’s Speech, the Government have set out their plans to enshrine in law the £33.9bn increase in funding for the NHS. This is the largest, and the longest, cash commitment ever made to the NHS.
The Government has already made progress on its commitment to deliver 50,000 more nurses by 2025 to ensure the NHS has the nursing staff it needs to deliver world-class care. The Government announced on Wednesday that all students who are studying nursing, midwifery and many allied health courses will receive a minimum £5,000 a year non-repayable teaching grant. Additional payments of up to £3,000 for students in regions or specialisms struggling to recruit or to help students cover childcare costs will also be available. This funding will be available from September 2020 – including for students going into the second or third year of their course.
The Government are also making an additional 1,500 undergraduate medical school places available for domestic students in England – a 25% increase over three years up to 2020/21.
Prevention of ill health is a priority because ‘prevention is better than cure’. We as a nation have made great progress over the generations in helping people live longer lives, but too many of these extra years are spent in poor health rather than good, and some communities have been left behind.
GPs are the bedrock of the NHS, and at the heart of the prevention agenda. The Government will act to deliver our manifesto commitments to deliver an extra 50 million general practice appointments a year with 6,000 more doctors in general practice and 6,000 more wider primary care professionals – on top of the 20,000 we have already committed to. In addition, pharmacies have a much bigger role to play, as has the wider Government agenda to build a more healthy environment.
Health infrastructure is also vital. As part of the biggest hospital building programme in a generation, the Government will build 40 new hospitals over the next decade, with 20 hospital upgrades as announced by the Prime Minister, already underway.
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