At the heart of the speech is the first ever commitment to enshrine in law a multi-year NHS funding settlement, with an extra £33.9bn per year by 2023/24 – the largest cash injection in the history of the NHS.
Speaking to NHS nurses at a Downing Street reception yesterday, some of whom were from Leeds General Infirmary and Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The NHS is the single greatest institution in this country and it’s absolutely vital that we as political leaders, all kinds and all levels, understand what is going on in the NHS. You are doing an incredible job.
“But the pressures and demands are enormous and we have to help you cope with that.”
The NHS Funding Bill will be the first piece of domestic legislation the new Government seeks to put onto the statute book following the passing of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, underlining the Prime Minister’s commitment to deliver further investment into the health service.
New legislation will mean qualified doctors, nurses and health professionals with a job offer from the NHS will be offered fast-track visas and support to come to the UK as part of a fairer, points-based immigration system to boost the NHS workforce.
The Government will also pledge to make it easier for hospitals to manufacture and trial innovative medicines, while a new independent body will improve patient safety by investigating concerns and incidents raised by patients and families.
Hospital car parking charges will also be abolished for those in greatest need – likely to include disabled people, parents of sick children staying overnight, and staff working night shifts.
“We are now putting the biggest investment in the NHS in living memory. We have to keep that investment going. We have to keep supporting you,” he said.
“I would like to thank you for everything you do.
“We now have got Christmas, and you, the NHS, are going to have to keep working over what will be one of the busiest and most taxing times of the year for the NHS. This is an opportunity for us in Government to welcome you to No 10 and to wish you a Happy Christmas.”