As a Government that fully in the NHS and its values, we are committed to a tax-funded NHS, free at the point of use, wherever and whenever you need it. As Ministers plan a new relationship with the EU, they will continue to ensure that the NHS is given the priority it deserves.
Despite tight public finances, the Government has actively supported the NHS's own plan for the future. That is why it is increasing NHS spending by a minimum of £8 billion in real terms over the next five years. This will ensure that by the end of this Parliament, everyone will be able to access GP services at evenings and weekends.
Between 2017 and 2020, the Government will provide the NHS with an additional £2.8 billion resource funding. Last winter, the NHS received £335 million to manage seasonal pressures. £1.6 billion will be invested in 2018-19, and in 2019-20, £900 million will be provided to help address future issues. Furthermore, the Government is currently offering local councils an additional £2 billion to help them fund adult social care services in a time of great pressure.
The Chancellor also introduced an additional programme of capital investment, further to the £425 million committed in 2017. This investment will be worth £3.5 billion, and will help NHS organisations improve local infrastructure, and significantly increase NHS efficiency.
On top of this, to secure the best value for taxpayers, new financial controls have been introduced to cut down on waste in the NHS, including introducing caps for agency staff and management consultants, and introducing central procurement rules.The limits on agency spending have saved the NHS roughly £1 billion between 2014 and 2016, and the NHS believes there is still significant progress to be made.
Rising demand for health and social care, and an ageing population means a long term funding solution is required for the NHS; the Government is looking to establish a sustainable funding model for the NHS which will secure it for the long term, and enable it to meet the growing demand expected in coming decades.
NHS Staff from the EU
NHS doctors and nurses work tirelessly for all of us, not least of all the role of those doctors and nurses who have come from overseas to provide us all with our world-leading National Health Service.
I welcome the Government's repeated commitment that all EU nationals working in the UK will be able to remain in the country with the same rights as they enjoy today.
EU citizens are an important part of the economic, cultural and social fabric of our country and their rights needed to be secured. A new settled status scheme under UK law will be introduced for EU citizens and their family members, covered by the Withdrawal Agreement. This will ensure that EU nationals can continue to perform their vital roles across a range of sectors, in particular the health and care sector.
The latest NHS workforce statistics show that, far from the referendum result encouraging EU nationals working in the NHS to leave our country, there are over 4,300 more EU nationals working in the NHS than there were in June 2016. I would also note that the proportion of our NHS workforce made up by EU nationals has risen to 5.6 per cent, up from 3.1 per cent in 2010.
NHS Waiting Times
As our population ages, demand for the NHS continues to rise. Many NHS trusts have faced difficulty in meeting their waiting time targets thanks to acute challenges this winter. The NHS sets exceptionally high waiting time standards, and the Government works with bodies like NHS Improvement to make sure they are delivered throughout the health service. The NHS mandate has set clear goals for the health service, and I am confident that they will be achieved.
Not only is the Government increasing NHS investment by over £20 billion in real terms over the coming five years, it is making progress on reforms which will reduce waiting times, and alleviate pressures on the NHS. Through the £3.6 billion investment in the Better Care Fund, and the NHS's continuing implementation of its own plan for the future, the Five Year Forward View, I believe the proper integration of health and social care over the next three years will be of huge benefit to the NHS and patients alike. Excellent progress is being made. Compared to five years ago, nearly half a million more people are treated within 18 weeks of referral; and I am happy to say that safety in the NHS continues to improve.
Over the next five years, as part of the NHS Long Term Plan, the local NHS is being given enough money to grow the amount of planned surgery year-on-year, to cut long waits, and reduce the waiting list. The ability of patients to choose where they have their treatment remains a powerful tool for delivering improved waiting times and patient experiences of care. The NHS will continue to provide patients with a wide choice of options for quick elective care, including making use of available Independent Sector capacity. These steps come alongside measures to offer patients the choice of quick telephone or online consultations, saving time waiting and travelling.
The Long Term Plan sets out that a review of A&E waiting time standards is taking place within NHS England. The Department of Health and Social Care will consider the conclusions of the review once it's been completed. This must be clinically led to enable best delivery of care for patients.