Hospitals in England are set for a £1.8bn funding boost in return agreeing to increasing seven-day services, the Government has announced.
The money comes from the £3.8m ‘front-loaded’ investment in NHS reform announced in the Spending Review in November, from a £10bn total to be invested by 2020/21.
The Government said the £1.8bn was a ‘transformation fund’ which would ’give the NHS the time and space in needs to… make seven-day services a reality for patients and… meet the ambitions of the NHS Five Year Forward View’.
However it added that it would only ’be allocated dependent on hospitals meeting a series of strict conditions’.
These ’strict and non-negotiable conditions’ included:
- agreeing plans to reduce deficits and break even within a reasonable timeframe;
- making further progress to reduce agency spend;
- agreeing plans to continue meeting targets, such as the four-hour A&E standard, the 18-week referral-to-treatment standard and ambulance access standards;
- setting out plans for achieving seven-day services by 2020.
The Government said that although all acute trusts would receive a share of the funding for signing up to the conditions, some may get more for showing that they can ’deliver additional efficiencies and improvements’.
NHS Improvement, NHS England and the Department of Health will write to trusts shortly to detail how funding will be distributed.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: ’We’re offering trusts help to improve their financial position and transform services for patients based on that planned investment, subject to strict conditions.
’This will allow hospitals to focus their efforts on making the NHS a truly 7 day service, offering the same excellent world class care every day of the week.’