General election 2015: Tories pledge £8 billion a year for NHS by 2020

NHS England currently has an annual budget of £102 billion

Roisin O'Connor
Saturday 11 April 2015 13:02
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The Chancellor is on course to beat his deficit target this year
The Chancellor is on course to beat his deficit target this year

George Osborne has pledged to protect the NHS with a guaranteed £8 billion increase in spending per year above inflation by 2020.

Writing in the Guardian, Osborne claimed that the Conservatives would "plug" a £30billion per year funding gap by the end of the decade in a move to address concerns that the Tories have abandoned compassionate Conservatism.

Osborne wrote: "With the funding and reforms that our NHS needs we can offer real improvements to the services people depend on, like guaranteeing over-75s same-day access to a GP.

"By supporting the most vulnerable we can improve their lives and ease the pressures on the NHS by reducing the number of unnecessary and often distressing visits to A&E.

"We can also guarantee that by 2020 everyone in the country will be able to access a GP at weekends and evenings."

NHS England currently has an annual budget of £102 billion.

The plan identified by Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, says the gap would be filled through £22billion in efficiency savings.

Stevens said last year that the NHS would need an additional £8billion a year above inflation by 2020.

In an interview with The Telegraph, health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said said the pledge would help deliver better care for the elderly in Britain.

The money would be used to pay for at least 5,000 new GPs to ensure pensioners who require care could see a doctor within hours.

"We want to give everyone the confidence that they can get in to see a GP quickly. We can do that because of the extra investment," Hunt said.

Labour has promised an extra £2.5billion a year for the NHS, with Ed Miliband's party confirming its £138million pledge to recruit 3,000 extra midwives.

A Labour spokesman speaking to the BBC described the Conservative pledge as "unbelievable", saying: "The Tories want you to think that they will invest in the NHS, but their claims cannot be trusted because their commitments are unfunded."

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