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Hard slog for health service

23rd April 2009

Experts have warned that investment in the NHS in the long-term is set to slow down significantly.

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Doctors fear that progress made could be undermined by funding cutbacks while NHS experts say the health service faces a “hard slog” in coming years.

Chancellor Alistair Darling said from 2011 public spending will rise by just 0.7% a year to help repay debts, which falls short of the 1.1% predicted last year and means the NHS is under pressure to make savings.

It remains unclear what levels of spending increase the NHS will receive, but observers fear it will be around 1%.

The slowdown follows record rises of 7% a year from 2002 to 2007, to the current level of 5.5% but that will come to an end in the next two years.

The Department of Health has revealed it wants to save £2.3bn from the £100 billion NHS budget and senior health managers from the regions have already met government officials to discuss savings and efficiency.

Steve Barnett, chief executive of the NHS Confederation which represents health service managers, said: "The message is clear - the levels of growth seen over recent years are at an end and there are tough times ahead."

Professor John Appleby, chief economist at the King's Fund health think-tank, said that now waiting lists have fallen and reforms have been introduced, the NHS does not need big rises in spending.

British Medical Association chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said doctors were concerned about what would happen in the long-term.


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Article Information

Title: Hard slog for health service
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 11102
Date Added: 23rd Apr 2009


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