Billions promised for the NHS, but will it change services in East Anglia?

It is not yet clear what the money means for services on the ground, such as those at Ipswich Hospit

It is not yet clear what the money means for services on the ground, such as those at Ipswich Hospital, pictured. Picture: PHIL MORELY - Credit: Archant

The Chancellor announced some very large figures for the NHS in the budget – but health professionals and politicians in East Anglia were still trying to work out what it would mean for services on the ground.

The “under pressure” NHS in England has been given an additional £350 million to cope with pressures over the coming winter.

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced plans to plough money into the service as it enters the difficult winter months.

Mr Hammond acknowledged the service is “under pressure” as he committed resource funding of £2.8 billion to the NHS in England.

This includes the immediate funds for winter planning, £1.6 billion in 2018/19 and the rest the year after.

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Mr Hammond said: “Our NHS is one of our great institutions, an essential part of what we are as a nation, and a source of pride the length and breadth of the country.

“Its values are the values of the British people, and we will always back it.”

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Earlier this month, NHS England boss Simon Stevens made a desperate plea for money for the health service. He said that without more money for the NHS, the number of patients waiting to be admitted to hospital in England to have surgery will rocket to five million by 2021.

South Suffolk Conservative MP James Cartlidge said the amount of money pledged to the NHS was “very significant.”

He said: “It is genuinely new money that should make a major difference to the NHS. The £350m over the winter will make an immediate difference.

“And there is further capital there to enable the NHS to modernise and become more efficient. This is good news for the NHS.”

But Ipswich Labour MP Sandy Martin disagreed: “It sounded like big figures when it was first announced but then your realise it is being proposed over several years and it starts to look like a small drop in the ocean.

“Even with this money the NHS in the UK is way behind the funding you get in countries like Germany and France and I think people in this country deserve better than that.

“The money that is needed is this kind of figure every year – this money simply does not go far enough to make a difference and it will not solve the problems that the health service is facing at the present time.”

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