REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/File Photo /FILE /REUTERS (Reuters) – Britain is about to have its first government surplus of more than $10 billion, but the country’s health care system is still struggling to recover from the shock of the election result and the coronavirus pandemic.
Health Minister Jane Ellison said on Friday that the government would “rethink” its approach to investing in its health care systems, after two consecutive years of spending cuts.
“This is a huge challenge.
But it’s also the biggest challenge of our time,” she said in an interview.”
There are people here that are not as confident as they were at the start of this year, that are worried, that have lost confidence, that need support, and we are going to make sure that we have the support to deliver the results that we need.”
Ellison, who is the health secretary, said that the health service would need to grow and the government could not afford to be “simply delivering for the future.”
“We have a long way to go to deliver for the people of this country and the future, and this government is working hard to get that done,” she added.
Ellison’s comments came after the government announced on Friday it would spend more than the equivalent of £1 billion ($1.15 billion) on a £10bn-a-year scheme to buy up excess assets and boost capacity at its four main hospitals.
The announcement came as the government is under increasing pressure to reduce the number of hospital beds in England and reduce the costs of care in the wake of the coronivirus pandemics.
Ellisons also said that England would introduce a national health levy and the introduction of a new public service contract system to fund services, in order to help to ease pressure on the NHS.
“The government is putting in place a range of steps, including a national levy and a new contract system, to help reduce the strain on the system,” Ellison said.
The government’s plans include introducing a new tax to support the sale of assets, which would be applied to all health assets.
Ellison also said the government was planning to introduce a new national health fund to finance services and to support hospitals.
Ellison said the new system would help to provide a wider array of services to the country, but it would not fund every service.
“The new national fund will provide a broad range of support to the NHS, including the ability to buy back some of our assets, and it will support hospitals,” she told Reuters.
“It will provide additional support to our hospitals to invest in technology and equipment, which will improve our capacity and deliver better outcomes for patients.”
The government has previously said that it plans to cut the number the number people in the public sector, with the government’s top economic adviser saying that a planned cap on the number a year would help “deter the contagion of the pandemic.”
The United Kingdom’s health system has suffered from the pandemias coronaviruses.
The UK’s national debt has increased by almost a trillion pounds ($1 trillion) in the past two years and the country is one of the world’s most indebted countries.
(Reporting by Paul Jaffe; Editing by Ros Russell)