Intended for healthcare professionals


NHS backlog: Realism is needed about how far £8.1bn will stretch, say health leaders

BMJ 2021; 372 doi: (Published 26 March 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;372:n836
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. London

NHS England has set out an £8.1bn (€9.5bn; $11.2bn) plan to tackle the backlog of care caused by the covid-19 pandemic and to provide more support for burnt out healthcare workers.

The plan has been welcomed for providing clarity for the year ahead, but professional organisations have warned that the government must be realistic about how far the funding will stretch.

The NHS’s operational planning guidance outlines how the NHS will operate in 2021-22.1 The government has agreed an additional £8.1bn for the first six months of the year, and the financial settlement for the second half will be agreed later. The sum includes £1.5bn allocated for elective recovery, mental health, and workforce development. The plan includes:

  • Establishing 40 mental health hubs to …

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