Covid: £551m extra funding for NHS and social care

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Medics in an ICU unit during coronavirus pandemic in UKImage source, Getty Images
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The NHS and social services in Wales faced a "huge task" in recovering from Covid, said Health Minister Eluned Morgan

More than £500m of extra funding has been allocated to help health and social services in Wales to recover from the pandemic.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said £411m would go towards the "significant costs" of dealing with Covid until April 2022.

A further £140m will be for tackling the waiting list backlogs, and rebuilding after Covid.

Ms Morgan said the NHS and social services face a "huge task".

On Thursday, figures for June showed waiting times hit record levels again.

Ms Morgan said: "The Covid pandemic has had a massive impact on the NHS and social services in Wales and is still facing significant costs in dealing with it."

She added such costs included the vaccination programme, testing, PPE and new cleaning standards for infection control.

"The knock-on effect from dealing with the pandemic has also been huge," she said.

"Waiting lists have increased by more than 33% and are now at record levels.

"Getting back to where we were before the pandemic is going to take a lot of time and investment in new ways of working."

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Staff are dealing with long waiting lists across many hospital departments

Health boards facing long waiting lists have been given £100m of the funding for their recovery plans, including speeding up the treatment of patients who have been waiting the longest.

Another £40m has been allocated for equipment and adapting hospitals and other buildings to increase capacity for routine procedures within Covid-safe areas, the health minister added.

The Welsh Conservatives welcomed the announcement of additional cash, but said it was "well overdue".

The party's health spokesman Russell George said: "It must not be forgotten that these very long waiting times were built up long before the pandemic, and Labour's failure to fix the roof while the sun was shining has led to hundreds of thousands of patients paying the price."

Plaid Cymru's health and care spokesman Rhun ap Iorwerth said: "Whilst I welcome any additional funding for our hard-working NHS and hand in hand with any short-term plans to deal with the unfolding and developing situation as we head into winter, we need a long-term plan to invest fully in our NHS.

"This includes a long-term plan to recruit, retain and retrain our NHS workforce to ensure all our health departments are adequately staffed, and able to provide the highest standards and quality of care and a commitment to honour the original, publicly announced NHS pay rise."