The government is to "fully fund" the NHS 'Five Year Forward View" over the course of this Parliament; and Treasury documents indicate that £1 billion will go on NHS IT over the next five years.

Chancellor George Osborne told the Commons this lunchtime that the NHS will recieve a funding increase of £4 billion next year, to front-load the Conservative's election promise to deliver an additional £8 billion a year to the health service by 2020-21.

However, £1.5 billion will be diverted to the Better Care Fund, which is meant to support initiatives to integrate health and social care.

The Fund has been criticised for diverting cash from the acute sector, which is looking at a deficit of £2.5 billion this year. But, in a potentially significant move, the Chancellor said he wanted an integrated health and care service by 2020-21.

There will be other significant calls on the additional NHS money, including seven day a week working, and new insititutes for dementia and public health.

Despite this, in the fine print of documents released onto the Treasury website as the Chancellor sat down, there is a note that £1 billion will be spent on technology to "deliver better connected services to patients and to ensure doctors and nurses have the information they need at their fingertips."

Digital Health News is seeking confirmation that this means NHS England has succeeded in securing a new technology fund for the health service.

It emerged earlier this month that the Department of Health had submitted a bid to the Treasury for between £3.3 billion and £5.6 billion to invest in new technology, data and digital. 

The bid was based on a report by consultancy firm McKinsey, which argued that the NHS needs to spend an additional £7.2 billion to £8.3 billion on digital technology over the next five years in order to achieve savings of between £8.3 billion and £13.7 billion to support the Five Year Forward View.

Overall, Osborne claimed that this funding boost for the NHS meant he was “fully funding” the plan drawn up by NHS chief executive Simon Stevens to bridge a £30 billion gap between funding and demand by the end of the Parliament.

The rest of the money will come from efficiency savings of £22 billion. However, the Chancellor made it clear that non-NHS health funding, including the cash required to run the Department of Health, will be cut.

The additional money announced by Osborne will also have to fund the Conservatives’ election pledge of seven day a week working, and new institutes for dementia and public health.

The Chancellor made a point of flagging up digital government initiatives in his speech, saying he wanted a digital tax service and that the Cabinet Office’s government digital service would receive more funding, even as Whitehall funding is cut.

But neither NHS England nor the DH could tell Digital Health News in advance of the comprehensive spending review statement today whether the health service's digital plan would be supported.

The front-loaded funding for 2016-17 is a victory for Stevens, who apparently argued for it in the face of Treasury hopes that it could be delivered evenly over the course of the Parliament. Stevens said: “This settlement is a clear and highly welcome acceptance of our argument for frontloaded NHS investment.

"It will help stabilise current pressures on hospitals, GPs, and mental health services, and kick start the NHS Five Year Forward View’s fundamental redesign of care. In the context of constraints on overall public spending, our case for the NHS has been heard and actively supported.”

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt also welcomed the funding, saying it will “help us finish the job” to transform NHS services and deliver services seven days a week. The extra funding is in addition to £2bn that Osborne committed to the NHS as part of last year’s autumn statement.

Further specific calls on the new money announced by the Treasury include £300 million more spent on cancer diagnostics every year by 2020-2021 and more than £500 million to be invested in new hospitals including in Cambridge, Brighton and Sandwell.

Rob Webster, chief executive, NHS Confederation, said the extra £3.8 billion “could give the NHS a fighting chance of transforming care in line with the Five Year Forward View."

He added that local government budgets had been cut significantly and that there could be a knock on effect for the NHS if the “funding gap” in social care is not addressed.

In his statement, Osborne announced that councils would be able to charge a ‘precept’ to fund social care that would deliver £2 billion by 2020-21. But the care sector has said this is not enough, and councils with low tax bases have argued they may not be able to impose a charge anyway.

Nigel Edwards, chief executive of the Nuffield Trust, welcomed the funding, but added there was a “concern that some of this money might come from cutting services that the NHS depends on to support it – like sexual health or home care for older people. We need to see the fine print to know whether this announcement is quite as generous as it seems.”