NHS chiefs have warned that they will have to start cutting patient care unless Rishi Sunak finds £8 billion this week for extra Covid-19 costs.
Ministers are themselves fighting the health service on two fronts this morning, with the talks on additional coronavirus funding stalling as unions prepare for strike action over pay.
Patients already on record waiting lists will face longer delays for treatment because the Treasury has toughened its line on NHS spending since the budget, health chiefs have told The Times.
They say the chancellor appears to be trying to renege on his commitment to cover Covid costs and is attempting to pay for the pandemic out of normal health service spending pots.
Hospitals accuse Sunak of robbing NHS budgets