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banner Friday, 14 July, 2000, 10:30 GMT 11:30 UK
Further NHS cash boost expected

The government is expected to announce a further increase in NHS funding when it unveils its spending plans for the next three years.

The Comprehensive Spending Review looks set to confirm the NHS as one of the government's top priorities.

Chancellor Gordon Brown has already signed up to record funding of the NHS, and the CSR is expected to bring another windfall to the health service.

In March, the chancellor announced that an additional and unprecedented 19bn would be invested in the NHS over the next five years.

That money, announced in the Budget, will see health spending rise by more than a third from 50bn to 69bn by 2005.

But more looks set to come, following reports that Mr Brown may have as much as 3bn extra available for investment in public services.

It is reported that the Chancellor will make nursing care free for elderly people living in homes.

In addition, the elderly will be allowed to spend three months in a nursing or residential home before being means tested to establish whether they should contribute to their accommodation expenses.

With Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Labour Party in general determined to make a success of the NHS, the chancellor will be expected to use the CSR to boost health spending further.

Modernisation

Since the Budget announcement, the government, spearheaded by Mr Blair, has worked to draw up a major programme of modernisation for the NHS.

It drafted in 100 health professionals to come up with proposals for change and priorities for investment, amid fears that the extra billions could disappear without trace.

Their efforts will culminate in the publication of a national plan for the NHS later this month.

The plan will outline how the extra billions will be spent and will also herald the most fundamental overhaul of the NHS since its formation in 1948.

With record funding in the pipeline, both politicians and patients are expecting a rejuvenated and healthier NHS.

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See also:

22 Mar 00 | Health
NHS reform: Blair takes charge
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