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Health and Social Care Levy introduced across the UK

By April 8, 2022No Comments

After months of speculation, the Health and Social Care Levy has officially been unveiled this week across the UK, paid for by a 1.25% increase in NI contributions. The Levy, which intends to raise £39 billion over the next three years, will be used to tackle the COVID backlog and improve vital services through speedier diagnoses and the cutting of patient waiting times.

In a boost to the diagnostics sector, part of the Levy will pay for the opening of 160 Community Diagnostic Centres (CDCs) by 2025. A further raft of flagship proposals includes 9 million more checks, scans and operations by 2025; new surgical hubs to reduce waiting times for procedures; and an expansion of operating theatres and diagnostic centres for cancer.

Moreover, the extra funds will help to increase the NHS Resource Budget to over £160 billion in 2024-25. This is significant as £5.9 billion’s worth of capital investment has been earmarked to support diagnostics, technology, and elective recovery.

These investments are desperately needed following the well-publicised swell in patients waiting for elective care – a figure which currently stands at 6 million but could rise to as much as 10 million due to lack of treatments during the pandemic.

In order to urgently clear the backlog, the Levy aims to deliver: around 30% more elective activity by 2024 to 2025 compared to before the pandemic; 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; and ensure no one will wait longer than 2 years for an elective treatment by July 2022.

Social care will also benefit from the Levy; receiving £5.4 billion to reform the current system. A further £500 million will be spent to ameliorate the current workforce issues in the social care sector.

In April 2023, NI rates will return to pre-2022 levels and the Levy will instead become a separate tax. The Government has stated that the taxation will be scaled, with those who are able to contribute more paying more and the richest 15% of the population footing over half the Levy’s cost.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said:

“Investing in health and social care is a top priority for this government, and it is right that we fund that investment in a responsible and sustainable way.

“The money raised by the levy will enable us to deliver improved services for patients, cut waiting times and make social care funding more fair – all part of a better system for health and social care”.

 

Ben Kemp

About Ben Kemp