The prime minister Boris Johnson has said the NHS is his government’s ‘top priority’ after leading the Conservatives to a majority in yesterday’s general election.
Mr Johnson promised that his ‘one nation Conservative’ government will ‘massively increase’ investment in the NHS as he delivered a victory speech in central London this morning.
The prime minister, whose party has a majority of 78 with just one seat left to declare at the time of publication, also repeated his campaign promise to deliver 50,000 more nurses.
He said: ‘This one nation Conservative Government will massively increase our investment in the NHS, the health service that represents the very best of our country, with a single, beautiful idea that whoever we are – rich, poor, young, old – the NHS is there for us when we are sick, and every day that service performs miracles.
‘And that is why the NHS is this one nation Conservative Government’s top priority.
‘And so we will deliver 50,000 more nurses, and 50 million more GP surgery appointments and how many new hospitals? [Crowd shouts “40”] Correct.
‘And we will deliver a long-term NHS budget enshrined in law, £650 million extra every week.’
Mr Johnson’s party has promised to increase investment in the NHS to £34 billion a year above the 2018/19 level by 2023/24 – equating to a £20.5 billion extra in real terms.
Another flagship pledge to deliver 50,000 more nurses was criticised after it emerged that it included 18,500 existing and returning nurses.
During the election campaign, the party vowed to introduce a new NHS visa to offer fast-track entry and reduced visa fees for doctors, nurses and allied health professionals.
It said they would bring back a £5,000-£8,000 grant for student nurses to cover their living costs after their government axed bursaries for tuition and maintenance costs in 2017.
To help bolster general practice, the party said it would deliver 50 million more GP surgery appointments by 2024/25.
It would achieve this in part by recruiting 6,000 more GPs and 6,000 other primary care workers such as nurses, physios and pharmacists.