NORTH-EAST health bosses last night welcomed the news that the Government has awarded £41.7m to children’s heart services in the region.

The funding for Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is part of a £1.8bn cash injection for the NHS announced by Boris Johnson at the weekend.

The trust had already announced plans to future-proof services, including recruiting additional staff to meet the surgical standards set by NHS England.

Dame Jackie Daniel, chief executive of Newcastle Hospitals, said the funding would “secure the future of children’s heart services in the North-East”.

“This is great news for families from across the region and means that we can continue providing the highest quality care here in Newcastle,” she said.

Mr Johnson’s announcement was criticised in some quarters. The funding will go towards repairing 20 hospitals.

Experts said the overall sum, while desperately needed, is just a fraction of what is required to fix ailing NHS buildings across the country.

Politicians warned that his no-deal Brexit stance would jeopardise his spending ability, with Labour saying such a departure from the EU will “put lives at risk”.

The announcement prompted nurses, charities and health think tanks to call for additional funding.

Mr Johnson said he is “determined to deliver” the promises of the Brexit referendum campaign, as he announced the sum equivalent to roughly £3.5m a week to be paid this year. He has received continued criticism for the battle bus claim that leaving the EU would allow the UK to take back control of £350m a week, with some boosting the NHS.

Of the latest pledge, £850m will go towards funding the vital upgrades to the 20 hospitals. But Ben Gershlick, from the Health Foundation charity, said that “years of under-investment in the NHS’s infrastructure means this extra money risks being little more than a drop in the ocean”.

He warned that NHS facilities are “in major disrepair” in England, with a maintenance backlog of more than £6bn, a figure also cited by other experts.