Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has revealed plans to provide free ambulance services to primary care centres, and will pay a fee for the services.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Hunt said the NHS would be able to cover costs of ambulance service through the 2020-21 budget, although the plan will not apply to existing facilities, and the fee will only apply to primary-care clinics.
Mr Hunt said: “The idea is that you are going to have the best ambulance service possible for the NHS.”
He added: “You are going, in principle, to pay for the ambulance service to be provided to your primary care clinic and you will pay the ambulance fee for that to be paid by the NHS.”
You are also going to pay that fee to your local health board to provide a service to your patient.
“So we are going in this direction where we are not paying for a service that we don’t want to pay.”
And it’s important that you recognise that that is not just an issue for the primary care sector, it’s also for people in hospital and people on the wards, where there is a significant need for the emergency services.
“The changes, to be introduced to the NHS budget, are due to come into effect in the autumn.
The announcement comes as the Government announces a £1.5bn emergency fund to fund specialist care for patients with complex medical conditions, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
In an effort to help people with these conditions, the Government announced the launch of the NHS Emergency Fund.
The fund, set up in April 2017, is being used to fund treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy for cancer and other conditions, and to cover specialist services for patients who can’t afford to pay out-of-pocket.
The scheme will also provide extra money to the private sector for the first time.
Mr Cameron has repeatedly stressed that the NHS must remain a publicly-funded institution, and that it must remain “open to everyone”.
The new scheme will allow patients to pay in advance of an appointment to see a GP or a physiotherapist.
The Government has also promised to provide specialist care to patients with mental health and addiction problems, and for people who have had a stroke or heart attack.
However, Mr Cameron has said that the Government would have to find additional funding for those services to be fully funded.
He said: “[We will] need additional money to support these things in the short term and to be able for the longer term to be a great success.”
Mr Hunt also revealed plans for the Department of Health to work with a consortium of health care organisations to develop a national mental health strategy.”
There will be some new areas that will be involved in the national mental well-being strategy and we will look at those areas in the coming months,” he said.
The Department of Mental Health and Addictions said that there was “no reason why we can’t continue to provide the services and care we already provide”.