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 Wednesday, 17 April, 2002, 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK
Billions for the NHS
If staff were given greater scope, patient care could increase, the report will say
The report will recommend changes in working practice
Spending on the NHS will top 100m in five years time, Chancellor Gordon Brown has announced.

Mr Brown has accepted the recommendations of the Wanless Report into the future needs of the health service.

The Chancellor said spending would increase by an average of 7.4% in real terms for each of the next five years.

This means that the total NHS budget will rise from 65.4bn in 2002-03 to 105.6bn in 2007-08.

The effect of these increases will mean that the proportion of national income spent on the NHS will rise from 7.7% now to 8.7% in 2005-06 and 9.4% in 2007-08.

Over five years NHS budget will rise by 43% in real terms, and will have doubled since 1997.

Mr Brown said: "We now have the best chance in a generation to secure our national health service, not just for a year or two, but for the long term."

Wanless recommendations

Earlier, a report by former NatWest chief executive Derek Wanless had called for NHS spending will have to more than double by 2022.

Mr Wanless said spending on the NHS should rise to 184 billion a year from 68 billion a year now.

His report said the health service had been underfunded by 200 billion over the last 30 years.

His was the first major review of the future needs of the NHS since it was established in 1948.

Derek Wanless
Derek Wanless was commissioned by the Chancellor
An interim report was published last year, and the final version reaffirms Mr Wanless's conclusion that the NHS should continue to be funded from general taxation.

In his report, entitled Securing our Future Health :Taking a Long Term view, commissioned by the Chancellor, Mr Wanless also called for major increases in the numbers of nurses and doctors, improvements in the way staff work, improvements in IT and in the integration between health and social care.

Under his plan, patients would wait no longer than two weeks for an inpatient or outpatient appointment.

This compares with the governments target of a 15 month maximum wait for inpatient treatment, met by the end of last month.

Money not enough

Mr Wanless said: "If our health services are to meet people's expectations and deliver the high standards over the next 20 years, we need to devote a significantly larger share of our national income to healthcare.

"But money on its own is not enough and provides no guarantee of success - it is essential that resources are efficiently and effectively used.

"Resources and reform must go hand in hand - and both are vital. Neither will deliver without the other."

Mr Wanless added: "I believe that it is right that there should be substantial investment quickly: there is an unacceptable gap in performance between the reality of the NHS today and what will be expected and needed in the future."

The projections in the report show the UK spending between 10.6% and 12.5% of GDP on health care by 2022. This compares with 7.7% today.

As part of his review Mr Wanless compared the performance of the NHS with health systems in a variety of other countries, including Australia, Canada and the US.

He examined the impact of people living longer, improvements in technology and treatments on the NHS over the next two decades.

He discussed the findings of his report with Mr Brown and Health Secretary Alan Milburn last week.

His report was formally submitted to the chancellor on Monday.

Timing 'a disgrace'

The Conservatives have criticised Mr Brown's decision to publish the report just hours ahead of the Budget accusing him of trying to stifle debate on its findings.

Shadow chancellor Michael Howard said: "This is a disgrace. There can't be any justification for not giving people proper opportunity to consider the Wanless report.

"The fact that this report is being published just before the Budget confirms what everybody knows - Gordon Brown's idea of a debate is to start it in the morning and shut it down in the afternoon."

  The BBC's Nick Robinson
"Radical reforms are talked about"

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See also:

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