The NHS is looking to hedge funds to help plug a capital spending gap

LONDON — The NHS is seeking to borrow money from hedge funds to pay for hospital equipment and repairs, according to a report in The Times.

The Times said the NHS is seeking up to £10 billion ($US12.4 billion) in fresh financing to plug gaps left by spending cuts.

Low levels of government funding for the NHS has left it in need of funds for new equipment and maintenance.

Per capita funding for the NHS will shrink 0.6% in real terms in the financial year 2018-19, according to a report in The Independent.

A report on the state of NHS property earlier this year highlighted a £10 billion financing gap. The NHS’s assets “will remain unfit for purpose and will continue to deteriorate,” if no extra investment is sought, according to the study.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond unveiled a capital boost of more than £300 million in his Spring budget last month and said more would be announced in Autumn.

The NHS, which is Britain’s largest employer, also faces uncertainty over staffing levels as a result of the Brexit process and a crack down on immigration.

As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, Prime Minister Theresa May is facing calls to guarantee the future of European nationals working in the NHS after a report released on Monday revealed that 10% of doctors were born abroad.

The report also found that in some NHS trusts up to 20% of all staff are EU nationals.

But a review into NHS property highlighted a £10bn infrastructure funding gap and said without investment, it “will remain unfit for purpose and will continue to deteriorate.”

Sir Robert Naylor, former head of the University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust and author of the report, told ministers that “substantial capital investment” was needed to improve NHS services.

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