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banner Monday, 8 April, 2002, 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK
Dr Andrew Kitching, hospital consultant
Dr Andrew Kitching, hospital consultant
Watch video verdict

Dr Andrew Kitching is a consultant anaesthetist at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.

One of his roles at the hospital is to buy equipment for the intensive care unit and the operating theatres.

As a taxpayer on a higher than average income, he says he's happy with the level of income tax he pays.

He is also a keen cyclist and supports environmentally friendly transport schemes.


My budget verdict

posted by Andrew | 1750 BST | Send your comments

On balance this looks like a good budget for the health service but there are some big 'ifs'.

A year on year increase of 7.4% for the next 5 years is the sort of sustained investment health care workers like myself have been looking for.

The doubts in our minds though include, how quickly will the money come through each year, given that the department of health has under-spent on its capital allocation over the last year by 500m.

The chancellor also mentioned that this money was dependant on reform within the health service.

Dr Andrew Kitching
Dr Andrew Kitching welcomes NHS spending
We as consultants have been trying to negotiate a new contract, regarding our pay and conditions, for the last 18 months, so far without success. Hopefully we'll now see a speedy resolution of this.

The chancellor also announced that money would only be allocated after approval by a new independent auditing body.

While we welcome the opportunity to demonstrate where investment in the NHS should take place, this may again substantially slow down allocation of the new money.

One of the problems the health service faces in the south east is recruitment of lower paid staff such as radiographers, physiotherapists and laboratory technicians.

There was nothing in the budget as far as I could see to help these people get on the housing ladder. It would have been nice to see tax incentives for housing associations and investment in development of low-cost social housing.

As someone who works in the health service its good to see that the chancellor has focused his energies on investment in health care but it does seem to be a bit of a single-issue budget and there didn't seem to be any major announcements on transport or education.

It was nice to see some tax incentives for fuel-efficient cars but where was the radical change in transport policy that is needed so desperately to combat traffic congestion and improve poor transport infrastructure.


Alcohol taxes
posted by Andrew | 1633 BST | Send your comments

I don't mind him freezing duty on wine!

I do think we'll see a lot more alcohol related illness. I see a lot of liver disease and drink related accidents.

Freezing the tax doesn't help discourage drinking.


Fuel Duty
posted by Andrew | 1628 BST | Send your comments

I can see the freeze on fuel duty will be popular, but it's not very good news for the environment.


NHS extra funding
posted by Andrew | 1626 BST | Send your comments

This is great news that there is to be 5 billion extra for the NHS but I can't see at the minute where the money is coming from.


Child Benefit
posted by Andrew | 1612 BST | Send your comments

The increases in child benefit are particularly welcome because my wife is going to give up work soon to look after our son.


Energy welcome
posted by Andrew | 1604 BST | Send your comments

Tax incentives for greener energy is brilliant. Particularly good here in the south of England where congestion is awful. Good news.


Euro
posted by Andrew | 1550 BST | Send your comments

I'm not surprised at his reference to the euro and the UK being well within the Maastricht criteria, that's no great shock.

It's going to have to be addressed at some stage. I would be keen for more debate on it.

I think people will become more pro-euro now that it exists


Budget hopes
posted by Andrew | 1330 BST | Send your comments

I'm hoping there will be a big boost for the NHS, moving above what's already been hinted at.

But I hope Gordon Brown is going to be fair and open and it and doesn't just take the money from some other stealth tax.

I'm expecting a big boost for transport too, with more money for environmentally friendly public transport schemes and cycle routes.


Your comments

I'm a medical student in Sheffield and therefore quite happy to hear that the long underfunded NHS is getting some of the money it needs and that the government plans to increase the number of doctors working for the health service - 15,000 more by 2008. My question is how? Presumably the majority of these doctors are supposed to come from medical schools in the UK and this will involve a hike in medical student numbers. But if universities barely got a mention in the Budget, where will the money to pay for all these extra medical students come from?
Sofia Amiruddin, UK


I would like to see better management within the health service

Peter Riley, UK
I am happy to see more going to the NHS, as are many others. However, I would like to see better management within the health service, more efficient processes and better use of resources together with substantial promotion of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
Peter Riley, UK

I have a number of friends who work within the NHS and work very hard at that. But it is very worrying when you hear them constantly complain about the number of people in the health service who are being paid for doing a job that isn't really necessary or are running around with their "clipboards" trying to look important.
Abigail Morris, England

Gordon Brown can throw as much money as he likes down the bottomless NHS pit. But it won't stop consultants cancelling appointments to be on the golf course or at their private clinic. Sort the rot out first then provide the money. I'm happy to pay more for real improvement.
Peter Rodwell, UK

As a higher-rate taxpayer, the hike in National Insurance payments is the thing I feel is unfair - I'd much rather have had a mechanism to let me opt-out of paying NI provided I paid the same amount into a private health policy.
David Moran, Scotland (but spends about 3 months/year in Australia)


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