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Care closer to home

6th July 2006

The government has announced plans to spend £750 million to bring health care closer to people’s homes.

Health secretary Patricia Hewitt wants more NHS care to be provided in community hospitals, asking primary care trusts to bid for a share of the cash to build new wards or convert old acute hospitals. Private healthcare companies will also be given the opportunity to invest in future community hospitals.

The cash will be spent over the next five years and will see five per cent of NHS care provided by community hospitals, which she says will no longer be viewed as the poor relation. 

The plans have already drawn fire, with shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley commenting that the new facilities will have few funds to spend on care because of the current financial difficulties of the NHS.

He said dozens of community hospitals had already closed due to lack the funds to keep them open.

 

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