Much-anticipated NHS long-term plan will be DELAYED because of Brexit
- The plan, already overdue, was expected to be delivered in the coming days
- However, it is understood the plan will be delayed further due to the Brexit row
- The plan will set out how the NHS will invest the £20.5billion a year by 2023-24
The widely-anticipated NHS long-term plan is unlikely to be published until the new year because of Brexit discussions.
Prime Minister Theresa May announced the ten-year plan earlier this year and the final document was due to be published last month.
However, a source involved in the discussions between the Government and the NHS has admitted it is unlikely to be published until January.
The plan, which is already overdue, was expected to be delivered in the coming days. However, it is understood that the plan will be delayed further due to the Brexit row
The plan will delve into how the NHS will spend the extra £20.5billion Mrs May promised it will receive each year by 2023/24.
It is understood that the plan is all written and ready to publish, according to the Health Service Journal.
But sources told the specialist publication there was a ‘higher than 90 per cent’ chance it wouldn’t be revealed until next year.
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They added there was an ‘outside chance’ the plan, which still needs to be reviewed by other Government branches, would be published next week.
Because of Parliament’s Christmas break, this means the lengthy document is unlikely to come to light sooner than January 7.
WHAT IS THE 10-YEAR PLAN?
The NHS 10-year plan is being drawn up to decide how the health service will spend its increasing budget over the next 10 years.
The Government has announced the NHS will recieve budget increases over the next five years until it reaches an extra £20.5bn a year by 2023.
This is equivalent to an extra £394million every week.
Health officials will set out in a public document how they plan to make the health service more efficient and how it will be improved between 2019 and 2029.
Planning will focus on how various aspects of healthcare can be made better including mother and child health, people with disabilities, cancer treatment and mental health services.
And it will also account for what needs to change about how the NHS is run and staffed, including staffing numbers and relationships between hospitals, GPs and pharmacies.
The plan has been developed by NHS England and NHS Improvement, with working groups – comprising local and national NHS leaders.
Clinical experts and patient representatives have also been involved in each step of the discussions, attending hundreds of meetings to argue the proposals.
An online call for views also allowed members of the public and frontline NHS staff to inform policy development, with more than 2,000 submissions received.
Clinical priorities of the plan include cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory disease, learning disabilities and autism, and mental health, according to NHS England.
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens and Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock had both previously said the plan would be unveiled this year.
Mr Stevens is said to have ‘deeply irritated’ ministers by saying their ambitions for boosting the NHS were unrealistic.
The Government last week had to deny reports of an ongoing battle with the boss of the NHS over plans to improve the health service.
It comes after a think-tank today warned the £20.5billion cash injection may just be spent keeping hospitals’ heads above water and paying off debts.
If the health service doesn’t become significantly more efficient over the next five years, existing responsibilities are expected to add up to £24.66billion.
The Institute for Public Policy Research, who produced the report, said the funding boost was ‘generous’ but admitted the money ‘will not go far’.
The Department of Health refused to answer MailOnline’s question about when the final report is expected to be published.
Instead, a spokesperson said that the body continues to ‘work closely with the NHS’ in the run-up to the release of the plan.
HAS THE NHS WINTER CRISIS BEGUN?
This year’s NHS winter crisis has already begun as hospital beds are filling up and thousands of people face long waits in A&E departments across England.
Figures released yesterday by the NHS show things look worse than last year, which then-Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt called the ‘worst ever winter’.
Experts and senior politicians warned things would deteriorate over the Christmas period as the NHS faces up to its toughest winter yet ahead of a flu season and icy weather warnings.
In a series of damning reports, official figures revealed:
- One in 10 hospitals didn’t have a single bed free on at least one night last week
- The average bed capacity across hospitals is England is 94 per cent – way above the 85 per cent safe level
- Nearly 55,000 people were left waiting on trolleys in A&E for more than four hours in November. Of those patients, 258 were kept waiting for at least 12 hours
- One in 12 ambulances were kept waiting outside A&E for half an hour or more because there was no space inside for their patients
- Ambulances were turned away from overloaded hospitals 25 times last week and sent to nearby units
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