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EDITIONS
NEWS Tuesday, 9 March, 1999, 19:23 GMT
NHS to get an extra 430m
Casualty doctor
The NHS is to receive an extra 430m of public funding to upgrade every accident and emergency department that needs modernisation in the UK.

Chancellor Gordon Brown announced the extra cash in his budget speech on Tuesday.

The money is in addition to the 21bn that Mr Brown announced would be pumped into the health service over the next three years following his Comprehensive Spending Review last July.

Mr Brown told the House of Commons that not only would the pledges made last July be honoured in full, but more cash could now be made available from the Capital Modernisation Fund.

Mr Brown said he wanted to build a culture of enterprise and fairness.

"Because enterprise and fairness depend on modern public services, we are not only providing the 40bn extra we promised to health and education but today I will announce more money and more capital investment in schools, hospitals, transport and fighting crime.

"After long years of neglect step by step this government is rebuilding our public services.

"To enhance in every part of the UK the health care that people most urgently require we today make an additional and immediate cash allocation, to be spent in the next 12 moths, for the upgrading of every single accident and emergency unit which needs it, in every part of Britain."

Mr Brown said the 21bn the government had already pumped into the health service had made possible the largest hospital building programme since the war.

He also said the NHS Direct initiative, whereby patients phone a central number for health advice and, if necessary, referral to the appropriate sector of the health service, was a proven success.

"Later this week the secretary of state for health will announce detailed proposals not only to extend it to all of the country by the end of next year, but to carry NHS Direct right into communities - with a network of health centres and drop-in centres where people can get immediate advice about treatment," he said.

Doctors pleased

Stephen Thornton
Stephen Thornton warned more cash was still needed
The British Medical Association has welcomed the extra cash.

Dr Mac Armstrong, BMA Secretary said: "If this is genuinely new money, it will provide a very welcome boost for our NHS accident and emergency departments.

"We saw A & E departments stretched to the limit this winter.

"Modernising our facilities will improve services to patients, should defuse the tensions which result when patients wait for hours in unsatisfactory conditions and relieve stress on doctors and nurses."

The NHS Confederation warned that there was still a "massive problem" of backlog maintenance in the NHS.

Chief Executive Stephen Thornton said: "Even with these additional sums, people must be realistic about what the NHS can achieve.

"There are many more equally important demands for the use of capital in the NHS - not just accident and emergency departments."

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See also:

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