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NHS funding to target the poor

Deprived areas will benefit from increased NHS funding after the health secretary announced the allocation of £135 billion for local health services

John Reid will announce the allocations for primary care trusts (PCTs) over the next three years, promising record levels of investment. The majority of the health services cash is expected to go to the most deprived areas.

While all areas will see their funding increase, the poorest and most disadvantaged parts of the country are likely to receive more money to help local health providers deliver on pledges made last year in the NHS Improvement Plan and Public Health White Paper.

The money, which has been promised by The Treasury, will help deliver faster operations, drive down waiting times, provide quicker access to GP and recruit more staff, the Department of Health claims.

In November Dr Reid said that 88 PCTs covering the most health-deprived populations would pilot a range of measures outlined in the 200-page White Paper. Plans that will be funded by the extra cash include improved sexual health services, providing school nurses and health trainers to boost patientís well-being.

The PCTs, identified using data on deprivation, cancer and heart disease deaths and life expectancy, cover large areas of the Midlands, North West and North East, as well as the most disadvantaged parts of London, such as Tower Hamlets, Haringey and Lambeth.

Some of the money being allocated today will be also be targeted on reducing waiting times for diagnostic procedures, in response to increasing concern over so-called "hidden waits" for diagnostic tests, which prolong patientís wait for treatment.


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