Twenty hospitals in England due to receive an extra £850m funding for upgrades to outdated facilities and new equipment have been revealed.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will formally announce the plans – part of NHS spending pledges totalling £1.8bn – at a Lincolnshire hospital on Monday.
Projects the £850m will pay for include a new women and children’s hospital in Cornwall.
But a healthcare charity said the money risked being a “drop in the ocean”.
The funding pledge comes during a week of health policy announcements by the government, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock expected to announce pension changes aimed at ending staffing problems.
‘Extra life-saving equipment’
The £850m is to be spread out over five years, with the remaining £1bn intended to tackle a backlog of hospital upgrades this year.
It comes on top of an extra £20bn a year by 2023 announced by former prime minister Theresa May last year.
Ahead of his visit to Lincolnshire, Mr Johnson said the new money – less than 1% of the annual NHS budget – would mean “more beds, new wards, and extra life-saving equipment”.
“It’s time to face up to this challenge and make sure the NHS receives the funds it needs, to continue being the best healthcare service in the world,” he said.
Mr Johnson previously said he was “determined to deliver” on the promises of the 2016 EU referendum, after criticism of the Vote Leave campaign’s claim that £350m a week was sent to the EU and could be spent on the NHS instead.
Mr Hancock told BBC Breakfast the NHS was “priority number one” for the new prime minister.
He said money for hospital upgrades was possible because the economy was growing and the funds would be available this year.
A vision for the government beyond Brexit?
Downing Street wants to persuade voters Mr Johnson’s vision for the country goes beyond delivering Brexit. But the domestic approach is intimately linked to the Leave vote.
His team think the referendum result was down to deep-rooted unhappiness in many communities, and they believe it’s essential they deliver solutions – not least regarding many people’s number one priority, healthcare.
Labour sees this announcement as window-dressing – a drop in the ocean which won’t fix years of cuts in the NHS.
But after a domestic spending blitz in his first fortnight, Mr Johnson has offered voters a taster of what he plans to do with power.
His team won’t entertain the idea of a general election before Brexit.
But with the spending taps back on, many think the new prime minister may well be tempted to go to the country sooner rather than later.
Responding to the funding announcement, the Health Foundation said “years of under-investment in the NHS’s infrastructure means this extra money risks being little more than a drop in the ocean”.
Ben Gershlick, from the charity, added that NHS facilities in England were “in major disrepair”, with a £6bn maintenance backlog.
Labour’s shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme there was “huge scepticism” about whether the funding was new, suggesting it came from money previously promised to hospitals for cutting costs.
Earlier he said the government’s willingness to leave the EU without a deal would be “a catastrophe” for the NHS, especially as the expected 31 October deadline coincides with the pressures of winter.
Sally Warren, director of health think tank the King’s Fund, said the announcement gave the NHS “new spending power”.
“At one level yes it is new money – if the Treasury today were not providing this money, NHS trusts would not be able to spend this £1.8bn,” she said.
“But another view is that actually – particularly the £1bn that’s been announced today – is really reversing cuts that trusts were asked to make this year.”
The head of NHS England, Simon Stevens, said the money was a “significant start” to “much needed capital investment”.
“The concrete steps being set out this week will mean investment flows directly to frontline services, providing new clinics and wards,” he added.
Later this week, the health secretary is also expected to announce changes to the NHS pension scheme after senior doctors said new rules meant they could not afford to work extra shifts to tackle waiting lists.
One hospital said the rule change, which means “punitive” taxes for doctors who take additional shifts and exceed the limit for pensions contributions, was the equivalent of losing 60 consultants.
Mr Johnson has previously pledged to resolve the problem.
The 20 NHS trusts receiving funding for hospital upgrades are:
• Luton & Dunstable University Hospital – £99.5m for a new block in Luton to provide critical and intensive care, as well as a delivery suite and operating theatres
• Norfolk & Norwich University Hospitals – £69.7m to provide diagnostic and assessment centres in Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Kin’gs Lynn for cancer and non-cancerous disease
• Norfolk and Suffolk – £40m to build four new hospital wards in Norwich, providing 80 beds
• South Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group – £25.2m to develop and improve primary care services in South Norfolk.
• University Hospitals Birmingham – £97.1m to provide a new purpose-built hospital facility replacing outdated outpatient, treatment and diagnostic accommodation
• United Lincolnshire Hospitals – £21.3m to develop urgent and emergency care zones in A&E
• Wye Valley – £23.6m to provide new hospital wards in Hereford, providing 72 beds
• University Hospitals of North Midlands – £17.6m to three new modern wards to improve capacity in Stoke, delivering approximately 84 beds for this winter
• Barking, Havering and Redbridge CCGs and North East London – £17m to develop a new health and wellbeing hub in north east London
• Croydon Health Services – £12.7m to extend and refurbish critical care units at the Croydon University Hospital
• South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System – £57.5m for primary care investment across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw
• The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals – £41.7m to improve paediatric cardiac services in the north east
• Leeds Teaching Hospitals – £12m to provide a single laboratory information management system across West Yorkshire and Harrogate, covering all pathology disciplines
• Greater Manchester Mental Health – £72.3m to build a new adult mental health inpatient unit in Manchester
• Mersey Care – £33m to provide a new 40-bed low secure unit for people with learning disabilities
• Stockport – £30.6m to provide a new emergency care campus development at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, incorporating an urgent treatment centre, GP assessment unit and planned investigation unit
• Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group – £18m to improve patient flow by improving access via the urgent treatment centre
• Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care – £16.3m to provide emergency and urgent care facilities at Tameside General Hospital in Ashton-under-Lyne
• Isle of Wight – £48m to redesign acute services for Isle of Wight residents
• Royal Cornwall Hospitals – £99.9m to build a new women’s and children’s hospital in Truro