Tuesday, January 5, 1999 Published at 11:15 GMT
Extra cash to fight flu crisis
London intensive care units alone will receive £750,000
The government has announced extra money and 2,200 initiatives to help the National Health Service tackle the latest flu outbreak in the UK.
Chancellor Gordon Brown has already pledged £159m to help hospitals and doctors in England cope.
Health Secretary Frank Dobson revealed on Tuesday details of how the extra money will be spent, including details of the thousands of individual proposals from across the UK on ways to tackle the problem.
London will receive £750,000 to boost intensive care services, with smaller payments going to hospitals in other parts of the country.
More money will be spent on educating people about how to avoid becoming ill in the first place, while outpatient services like night sitting will help prevent needless readmissions.
Among the inititiaves announced by the government are:
"The government has done its bit by finding millions of pounds of extra money to target effort and resources where it is needed most.
"But extra money is not enought on its own. The extra money needs to be matched by extra ingenuity and effort."
She said: "It is the result largely of this government delaying its winter pressures announcement until it was far to late, giving political priority to routine waiting list operations when these sorts of emergencies were building up and not using the private sector to relieve the strain."
Liberal Democrat health spokesman Dr Evan Harris said: "We only get the NHS we are prepared to pay for. We need less sound bite, and more long term planning and better funding."
Flu to rise
Spokesman for the Public Health Laboratory Service Simon Barber said that in England and Wales an average of 80 cases of flu per 100,000 people per week were recorded up to 27 December.
"I would imagine there was a slight under-representation of illnesses over the Christmas break, so it may well rise in the next few weeks," he said.
"It is very hard to say, but the latest figures show the average rate of GP consultations for flu is 102 per 100,000."
More exact figures that distinguish between two varieties of flu will be available later this week.