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Chancellor reveals NHS budget growth slowdown

10 October 2007

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Chancellor Alistair Darling has revealed that growth in NHS spending will slow to 4% per year after a period of record investment.

The NHS has been awarded annual funding increases of about 7% since 2002, but it was known that this would be reduced after 2008.

Mr Darling made the announcement as part of his first Pre-Budget Report, revealing there will be a 4% a year rise for the NHS for three years taking it to £110bn in 2010.

He said the money will go towards fulfilling the Government’s pledges on health care.

Last week, Health Secretary Alan Johnson and Lord Ara Darzi announced plans to create 150 walk-in health centres, and 100 more GP practices in under-doctored areas.

Mr Darling said the extra investment will allow the Government to reach its target of making sure no patient waits more than 18 weeks from GP referral to treatment by the end of 2008.

The cash will also be used to implement proposals to create greater access to GP services, and help keep Britain’s hospitals clean in the fight against infections.

Total NHS funding has now risen in real terms from £35bn in 1997-98 to £110bn in 2010-11, the Government claims.

Speaking after the announcement, Mr Johnson said: “Over the last decade we have invested to increase the capacity of the NHS so that the service is able to treat more people more quickly.

“This settlement locks in that record investment and provides for additional real-terms growth.”

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