A number of constituents have contacted me recently about future NHS funding following the outcome of the EU referendum.

I believe fully in the NHS and its values, and can assure you that the Government continues to be 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, the Government will continue to ensure that the NHS is given the priority and stability it deserves.

Despite tight public finances, the Government has actively supported the NHS' own plan for the future. It is providing the additional £10 billion of investment per annum in real terms by 2020/21 (compared to 2014/15) requested to fund a transformation in care. This will allow the NHS to offer 800,000 more operations and treatments and spend up to £2 billion more on new drugs. It will also ensure that by 2020, everyone will be able to access GP services at evenings and weekends.

During my recent time as Health Minister, I was closely involved with integrating and improving health and social care to protect people at every stage of their lives. Local authorities will be given greater powers so they can raise up to £2 billion by the end of this Parliament for adult social care through the introduction of a social care precept. This will be supported by making extra funds available for local government from 2017, rising to £1.5 billion by 2019/20 and to be included in the Better Care Fund. This will ensure that spending on social care will have risen in real terms by the end of this Parliament and protect the most vulnerable in society.

The Government is also committed to tackling poor mental health in the UK.  The Department of Health has legislated to ensure it is treated with the same importance as physical health and progress is being made - we have invested more than ever before in mental health with an extra £11.7 billion invested in the NHS last year. 

In January 2016, the Government announced almost £1 billion of additional investment for mental health.  This will support one million more people with mental health problems to access high quality care that they are not getting today and includes: £290 million of new investment over the next 5 years to provide mental healthcare for new mums; £247 million to invest in liaison mental health services in emergency departments; and over £400 million to enable 24/7 treatment in communities as a safe and effective alternative to hospital.  This is in addition to the £1.4 billion for children and young people’s mental health, including for eating disorders.

In relation to general practice funding, the NHS will earmark an extra £2.4 billion a year for GP services by 2020/21 - a 14 per cent real terms increase. Overall investment in primary medical care includes a £500 million Sustainability and Transformation package to help GP practices add to the workforce and tackle workload.

On top of this, to secure the best value for taxpayers, the Government has introduced tough new financial controls to cut down on waste in the NHS, including introducing caps for agency staff and management consultants, and introducing central procurement rules. The Government has also introduced a £1.8 billion Sustainability and Transformation Fund in 2016/17 to support providers to move to a financially sustainable footing.

I hope this helps to set out the Government’s priorities for our NHS and I will continue to maintain a close interest in health policy from the backbenches.