Responding to the health secretary's announcement that the NHS’s budget for the first half of 2021/22 has been agreed, Danny Mortimer, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:
“It’s remarkable that with just 13 days to go before the start of the new financial year, the Chancellor has only just finalised the NHS budget for the first six months of 2021/22. This pragmatic if overdue response will be welcomed by health leaders, as will the commitment to revisit matters if COVID-19 related costs increase.
“However, the Government must also address the longer term consequences of the pandemic on the health of the population and the demands on the NHS.
“The sheer scale of NHS waiting lists, with 4.6 million patients waiting to start treatment as of the end of January, and our own recent analysis which shows the backlog could swell to 6.9 million by the end of 2021, coupled with the additional demands for long COVID and mental health support requires the Government to go further and commit to long-term support for health and social care, including explaining to the public what can and can’t be achieved within the resources that are available.”