NHS debt of £13.4 billion will be written off in a move to help it fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the news at the daily Downing Street press conference on Thursday evening.
He said: "Today, to help NHS trusts to deliver what’s needed without worrying about past finances, I can announce that I am writing off £13.4 billion of historic NHS debt.
"This landmark step will not only put the NHS in a strong position to be able to respond to this global coronavirus pandemic.
"But it will ensure that our NHS has stronger foundations for our future too."
He added that £300 million will be made available to fund community pharmacies.
"These are unprecedented times for our healthcare system and I want to make sure every part of it is supported,” he explained.
"I’ve therefore made £300 million available for funding for community pharmacies.
I am profoundly moved by the compassion and the commitment that we are seeing from people right across the country.
"[They] do so much to get vital medicines to people and play such an important part in their communities.
"They themselves are the NHS front line."
The health secretary then went on to pay tribute to the frontline workers who have died after contracting the virus and 'paid the ultimate price of their service'.
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He said: "I am profoundly moved by the compassion and the commitment that we are seeing from people right across the country.
"And in the health and care system we have lost colleagues too.
"I just want to say this on behalf of all my colleagues in health and social care: I am awed by the dedication of colleagues on the frontline…
"…every single person, who contributes to the running of this diverse and caring institution that our nation holds so dear."
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