Blair pledges boost to NHS

A MULTI-billion pound cash injection into the National Health Service was agreed last week, after a meeting between Tony Blair and Chancellor Gordon Brown. The extra cash, expected to amount to between pounds 10bn and pounds 16bn over three years, has been promised in a letter to Cabinet colleagues and will be linked directly to the modernisation of the NHS.

The boost for Frank Dobson, Secretary of State for Health, comes at the start of a week of celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the NHS. In his letter the Prime Minister outlines a five-point plan, the first of which is "more money".

Mr Blair argues: "New Labour has already put in an extra pounds 2bn more than the last government promised. That's an extra pounds 5m a day this year. But as we finalise details of the CSR [comprehensive spending review], Gordon and I are absolutely clear about the need for more investment in the NHS. We will make sure the NHS gets the extra resources it needs. It needs major new investment. It will get it."

On waiting lists - which have risen despite Labour's election promise to cut them - the Prime Minister concedes that they "are proving hard to turn around". He adds "We will meet our pledge by the end of Parliament."

Mr Dobson's difficulty in cutting waiting lists has underlined the need for a massive boost in resources. According to informed speculation the NHS will gain pounds 10bn spread over three years.

In his letter, Mr Blair stresses Labour's commitment to the NHS. "There will be some people," he argues, "who will try to say the NHS has had its day. That is not the view of the Government. With modernisation it can go from strength to strength."

Under the Government's health White Paper, published last December, the internal market will be scrapped with savings from bureaucracy being ploughed into patient care.

Anne Widdecombe, Shadow Health Secretary, said Labour's record on the NHS had been "lamentable".

"Since the election last year we have seen proposals for scores and scores of hospital closures and a substantial rise in waiting lists," she said.

t Nearly two out of three people would be happy to pay extra tax to increase funding for the NHS, according to a new opinion poll. The MORI survey found that nearly half of all those questioned feared the NHS was "at breaking point" while 73 per cent believe it is underfunded.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Bookkeeper - German Speaking - Part Time

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm of accountants based ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a financial services c...

Ashdown Group: Field Service Engineer

£30000 - £32000 per annum + car allowance and on call: Ashdown Group: A succes...

Recruitment Genius: Sales & Marketing Co-Ordinator

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Well established small company ...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence