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Saturday, 1 December, 2001, 02:07 GMT
NHS management review ordered
The way hospitals are run will be examined
A second major inquiry into the way the National Health Service is run has been commissioned by the government.

Chancellor Gordon Brown said the review is intended to make sure extra funding for the NHS is matched by improved practices.

In his pre-budget statement earlier this week Mr Brown said the NHS would need a lot of extra funding in future and on Friday he said improvements rely on more than just money.

Mr Brown told the BBC: "At every stage we are looking at how management can be improved, how accountability can be improved, how incentives can be improved."

The chancellor said the review, ordered by the prime minister, would run "side by side" with the report on NHS funding by Derek Wanless.

The former Natwest Bank chief executive has refused to rule out private finance for the NHS.

Against 'health tax'

The new inquiry will be led by former Confederation of British Industry (CBI) director general Adair Turner.

At every stage we are looking at how management can be improved, how accountability can be improved, how incentives can be improved

Chancellor Gordon Brown
The Chancellor reaffirmed his opposition to a specific health tax to pay for improvements to the NHS, a move which will fuel speculation he is at odds with Tony Blair.

He said: "Your funding for the health service is dependent on one or two taxes and therefore dependent on what they can raise in any one year.

"Therefore you are to a large extent the victims of either the economic cycle and you are not raising a great deal of money this year because corporate or Income Tax revenues have gone down - or because of some changes in behaviour."

Mr Brown spoke after Downing Street insisted an NHS tax had not been ruled out and the Chancellor and Prime Minister were not at odds over the subject.

'Radical overhaul'

Mr Brown also ruled out a compulsory health insurance scheme, as used in some other European countries.

Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown is against a health tax
Shadow health secretary Dr Liam Fox said the policy should not be ruled out: "We look across the Channel and we see people surviving heart disease better, surviving cancer better - we should be getting that in the UK.

"That's what we want for people in this country - if that requires a radical overhaul then that's what we'll have to have."

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Evan Harris dismissed the latest review, arguing it would be too late to influence reform as it comes after the NHS plan.

He said: "It is a case of shutting the stable door after the horse has died.

"This is another example of activity to disguise the lack of action and progress in the health service."

The BBC's Matt Gardner
"Downing Street maintains a NHS tax has not been ruled out"
See also:

28 Nov 01 | Health
Will money cure NHS ills?
30 Nov 01 | UK Politics
'Blind panic' jibe on NHS funding
30 Nov 01 | Health
'Chaotic NHS cannot improve'
29 Nov 01 | UK Politics
Wanless 'open' to private finance
29 Nov 01 | UK Politics
Blair echoes tax rise hints
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