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How Labour's NHS riches will be spent
Former Health Secretary Frank Dobson announced a 21bn investment
When Labour came to power in May 1997, it made the health service one of its priorities.

To this end, and to celebrate 50 years of the NHS, the health service was promised an extra 21bn over three years in Chancellor Gordon Brown's comprehensive spending review in July 1998.

Then Health Secretary Frank Dobson outlined how the money would be spent, and said the extra money would kick start a 10-year modernisation programme.

On top of this, Mr Brown pledged an extra 250m to help the NHS over the winter months in his pre-budget statement.

This compares to 300m the previous year.

However, critics have said that as the NHS costs 100m a day to run, 250m is going to make little difference to its ability to cope.

The Conservatives said the extra cash for England was closer to 2bn than 18bn, and only appeared so large because of the way the government had calculated its figures.

Where Labour's 21bn will go

Here are the main points of Mr Dobson's July 1998 announcement:

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

  • The new Northern Ireland assembly will 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 will be appointed over the three-year period.

  • There will be an extra 6,000 nurse training places.

  • Medical school places will be increased.

  • Three million more patients will be treated.

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

  • There will be an end to the systematic use of short-term contracts for nurses and other staff.

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

  • England will 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 will measure efficiency in the NHS. Hospitals with above average costs will be targeted.

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

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

  • The NHS to provide free eye tests for pensioners from April 1999.

Where the 250m goes

Mr Brown said when he announced the winter crisis money: "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."

The Department of Health announced in January how the money would be spent.

Among the initiatives are:

  • The introduction of "one-stop" clinics, costing 200,000, in Walsall to reduce pressure on in-patient beds.

  • An NHS partnership with local authority housing departments in Calderdale and Kirklees to improve heating and insulation in vulnerable households. Cost 200,000.

  • Community action teams in Leeds to provide rehabilitation, intensive home treatment, a night sitting service and home care help to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions. Cost 175,000.

  • A grant of 150,000 for a specialist rapid assessment scheme for elderly patients based at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxfordshire linking to an intensive community support scheme.

  • The creation of a dedicated emergency nurse practitioner service in the A&E Department at the Whittington Hospital, London. Cost 74,000.

Money will also be spent on educating patients about when it is appropriate to use the health service over the winter months.

In addition, almost 200m of new money is to be spent modernising cancer diagnosing and treating equipment.

Many hospitals will be bought new scanners and radiotherapy machines.

See also:

29 Jul 98 | Health
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