I believe fully in the NHS and its values, and I would like to assure you that the Government is committed to a tax-funded NHS, free at the point of use, wherever and whenever you need it. As Ministers plan a new relationship with the EU, the Government will continue to ensure that the NHS is given the priority and stability it deserves.
Despite tight public finances, the Government has actively supported the NHS' own plan for the future. That is why it is providing the additional £10 billion of investment per annum in real terms by 2020/21 - compared to 2014/15. The Government is investing nearly £4 billion of that just this year which, as the Chief Executive of NHS England has said, will 'kick-start' the transformation of provision. It will also ensure that by 2020, everyone will be able to access GP services at evenings and weekends.
The Government has committed to unprecedented levels of mental health funding, including £1.25 billion for perinatal and children and young people's mental health, helping professionals to intervene early. To support teenagers with eating disorders, the Government has also invested £150 million.
The NHS will earmark an extra £2.4 billion a year for GP services by 2020/21, a 14 per cent real terms increase. Overall investment in primary medical care includes a £500 million Sustainability and Transformation package to help GP practices add to the workforce and tackle workload.
On top of this, to secure the best value for taxpayers, the Government has introduced tough new financial controls to cut down on waste in the NHS, including introducing caps for agency staff and management consultants, and introducing central procurement rules.
I know that the Government recognises the current pressures facing social care in local areas. That is why the Government is giving local authorities additional funding and flexibility so that they will have access of up to an additional £3.5 billion by 2020, providing a real terms increase in funding by the end of this Parliament.
In addition, the Government has taken steps in the recent Local Government Settlement to help in the shorter-term, making available almost £900 million of additional social care funding over the next two years. Money alone will not fix the problem and the Government is clear that far-reaching reform is needed to find a long-term sustainable solution which helps local authorities learn from each other to raise standards across the whole system.