This week the first ever dedicated Health and Social Care Levy will be launched and will look to raise billions to help towards the backlog caused by the pandemic.
A record £36bn will be invested into the health and social care system over the next three years to help speed up diagnoses and reduce patient waiting times.
The government have already delivered 73 new diagnostic centres across England which form part of the 160 community diagnostic centres (CDC) planned by 2025.
From the new centres more than 700,000 tests have been delivered, equating to around 30,000 each week.
Four more new CDCs are due to be opened by the end of May allowing more people to access crucial care closer to their homes.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “From Wednesday, the Health and Social Care Levy will raise billions to improve services that really matter to the public and help us recover and reform as we begin to live with Covid.
“This is vital funding for the NHS that will clear the Covid backlogs, helping to reduce waiting times, deliver millions more checks, scans and operations, and reform the adult social care system.
“This critical investment in our nation’s future will be paid for by those with the broadest shoulders, whilst those on low and middle incomes are protected”.
The new funding will also help to deliver on many other aims including:
- 9 million check-ups, scans and operations by 2025.
- More new surgical hubs across the country.
- Increase of operating theatres and diagnostic centres for cancer.
The Health and Social Care Levy will also look to reform the way social care services are provided. Backed by £5.4bn, social care will now have a limit to the costs of care for all those in adult social care and in addition will also have £500m invested into the workforce.
The funding will come from an increase in dividend taxation which will increase by 1.25% for all working adults.
For now, the Levy will be based on National Insurance contributions (NICs) but will become legislatively separate in 2023.
Low earners will be protected from the Levy as announced in the Spring Statement after National Insurance taxation was altered.
This funding will be in addition to the 2018 settlement for the NHS which ensures that its budget rises by £33.9bn a year by 2023/24.
In addition to the focus on diagnostics and social care reform, the funding will help fund the NHS’ Covid Backlog Recovery Plan which includes:
- Ensuring that around 30% more elective activity is delivered by 2024/25 compared to before the pandemic.
- Any waits of longer than a year for elective care are eliminated by March 2025 and waits of over 18 months by April 2023.
- No waits of longer than two years for elective care by July 2022.
- Three quarters of patients who have been urgently referred by their GP for suspected cancer will be diagnosed, or have cancer ruled out within 28 days by March 2024.