Reid announces £135bn NHS cash injection for poorer areas

Health Secretary John Reid has announced a £135 billion investment for English Primary Care Trusts (PCT), in order to help improve services and tackle major illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease.

Mr Reid also announced that more money would be allocated to 88 PCTs in deprived areas, in order to help tackle health deprivation and reduce inequalities in life expectancy and infant mortality. However, he stated that no PCTs would receive less than 8.1% per year over the next two years.

The Health Secretary said that the money would help improve access to services, reduce operation waiting lists and fund initiatives such as school nurses, community matrons and health trainers. He said that the investment would help to speed up access to operations, with the aim of reducing maximum waiting time for operations to eighteen weeks by the end of 2008.

Three years ago, PCTs recevied an average of £907 per head of funding for patients. The new investment would bring the average across England up to £1,338 per patient and £1,710 for those in deprived areas. When funding was first allocated directly to PCTs in 2003/04, PCTs in deprived areas received as much as 22% less than their fair share of available resources, the Department of Health stated.

Mr Reid described the investment as "an historic level of sustained funding". He said: "I am making sure that the most deprived areas, where there are appalling inequalities in life expectancy and concentrated problems of diseases, such as lung cancer or heart disease, receive extra investment. This means the distribution of money, in both the north and the south, is fairer than ever before."


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