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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 March 2006, 12:25 GMT 13:25 UK
NHS 'not giving value for money'
Doctor generic (Pic: Bananastock)
The government has promised to tackle NHS financial problems
NHS patients are still not receiving value for money despite unprecedented investment, a former senior Department of Health official has said.

Bob Dredge, who was programme director for financial reform at the department, said that in terms of productivity, value for money has been reduced.

He told BBC One's Panorama he believed too much money was spent on wages.

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said her reforms had not created the problems, but would solve them.

It is estimated the NHS in England could run up a deficit of more than 600 million - putting thousands of jobs at risk.

Patricia Hewitt
There is considerable room for making much better use of the resources we have got in the NHS
Patricia Hewitt

Critics of the government have pointed out that one third of the deficit is taken up with doctors' wages.

But ministers, who have promised to put 94bn into the NHS over the next two years, blame the problems on a culture of overspending in the NHS over the past 60 years.

Ms Hewitt told the BBC: "These financial problems have been there for years, but our reforms mean that we're creating a new NHS."

She said patients now have more choice, GPs have more freedom to get the best for their patients and each hospital has to take responsibility for delivering the best care.

She claimed the extra investment had been spent efficiently, but admitted: "There is considerable room for making much better use of the resources we have got in the NHS."

But the Conservatives' Andrew Lansley says the government has failed in its promise to transform the NHS.

The shadow health secretary told ITV1's Jonathan Dimbleby programme: "There is a financial crisis and they don't know hope to cope with it."

Mr Lansley said the health service needs doctors and nurses, but Labour had instead provided more administrators.

Panorama: The NHS Blame Game will be broadcast on BBC One at 2215 BST on Sunday 26 March.

Hear more about the overspending in one hospital

No help for 'cash-strapped NHS'
22 Mar 06 |  UK Politics


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