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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 in England will top 100 billion 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.

NHS Spending
2002-03: 65.4bn
2003-04: 72.1bn
2004-05: 79.3bn
2005-06: 87.2bn
2006-07: 95.9bn
2007-08: 105.6bn
In his Budget speech, the Chancellor said spending would increase by an average of 7.4% in real terms for each of the next five years - in part funded by a 1% increase in national insurance contributions.

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 dismissed calls for alternative funding methods for the health service. General taxation was the equitable option, he said.

He 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.

"The NHS is a British ideal, free at the point of need for everyone in every part of Britain."


Mr Brown said the increase in NHS investment would be pegged to reform.

Health Secretary Alan Milburn will announce on Thursday plans to set up a system of independent audit and inspection to ensure funds are well spent.

There will also be a new system of independent scrutiny of patient complaints.

The new independent auditor will produce an annual report to parliament to account for the money allocated to the NHS, where it has been spent and what the results have been. This will be accompanied by local reports.

There also be new financial incentives for hospital performance, greater freedom for high performing hospitals and trusts, devolution of power and resources to front line staff, and reform of social services care for the elderly.

Wanless recommendations

Earlier, a report by former NatWest chief executive Derek Wanless had called for NHS spending 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. He called for an initial five year period of high growth to catch up, followed by a lower level of sustained investment.

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
Mr Wanless concluded 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 had 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 Niall Dickson
"The question is this time, will patients notice a difference?"
  The BBC's John Pienaar
"Everyone knew Gordon Brown's sights were on middle and top earners"
  The BBC's Nick Robinson
"Radical reforms are talked about"

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