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Tuesday, November 3, 1998 Published at 16:10 GMT


Brown promises extra £250m for the NHS

Chancellor Gordon Brown delivers his statement

Chancellor Gordon Brown has pledged an extra £250m to help the NHS over the coming winter months.

In his pre-budget statement, Mr Brown said the cash was in addition to the £21bn pledged to the NHS over the next three years in his comprehensive spending review in the summer.

Mr Brown said: "To ensure in every part of the UK the health care that people, especially elderly people, need this winter, I am making an additional and immediate winter cash allocation to be spent in the next five months of £250m for our NHS.

"I can confirm that because this government believes in the best health and the best education, not just for a few, but for all our people, we will invest an additional £40bn in the modernisation of education and health over the next three years - public services that in the months and years ahead are safe in this government's hands."

Mr Brown also announced that 25 hospitals would receive funds for development under the private finance initiative.

The Chancellor said the government would invest in health "to provide the modern service on which people rely".

Health Secretary Frank Dobson said the new cash would be allocated to health authorities within the next two weeks.

He said: "It provides further investment for the long-term as well as additional help for this coming winter.

"It will be used to develop new ways of joint working between health and social services. This is further investment for lasting success not just this winter, but for years to come."

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Malcolm Bruce welcomed the new cash.

He said: "We hope it will mean that this year we will be able to get through the winter without seeing waiting lists rise again."

10-year modernisation

[ image: Frank Dobson: promised a 10-year modernisation programme]
Frank Dobson: promised a 10-year modernisation programme
At the time of the comprehensive spending review, Mr Dobson promised that the £21bn to be pumped into the NHS would kick start a 10-year modernisation programme.

The main points were:

  • £18bn to go to England, £1.8bn to Scotland and just over £1bn to Wales.

  • The new Northern Ireland assembly to decide how much of the money allocated to it in the government's spending review will go on health.

  • Up to 7,000 more doctors and 15,000 more nurses to be appointed over the three-year period.

  • An extra 6,000 nurse training places to be created.

  • Medical school places to be increased.

  • Three million more patients to be treated.

  • Pay review bodies to formally consider service improvements, available resources and the government's inflation target before making recommendations.

  • An end to the systematic use of short-term contracts for nurses and other staff.

  • £8bn to be invested in new hospitals, clinics and GP premises. More than 1,000 GP surgeries to be improved or rebuilt over the next three years.

  • England to get a £5bn plus modernisation fund to keep up with the information technology revolution. New booking systems should help cut waiting lists.

  • A new performance framework to measure efficiency in the NHS. Hospitals with above average costs will be targeted.

  • An extra £3bn to be given to social services to compliment NHS work.

  • No new NHS charges to be introduced during this parliament.

  • The NHS to provide free eye tests for pensioners from next April.

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