NHS Resources and Priorities

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:10 pm on 14th November 2000.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health) 5:10 pm, 14th November 2000

My Lords, I am particularly glad to welcome the noble Baroness's question. She probably knows more about NHS funding than anyone, certainly in this House but I guess in this country as well. It is good to be able to pay tribute to the contribution that she has made over many years to financial management in the National Health Service.

I am rather wary of debating figures with the noble Baroness, but I make two points. First, in the Statement I referred to further announcements that would be made in December in relation to guidance to the NHS. I am afraid that we must await that guidance before I comment further.

However, I take the point that we want to push as much money as possible down to the level of the health service. That is entirely consistent with the concept of earned autonomy with which I am sure the noble Baroness would agree.

I cannot give an exact date when announcements will be made about central budgets. But I repeat that included within those central budgets are very important sums of money for research and development, and education and training. We shall be anxious to make those announcements as soon as possible because certainty for the NHS will mean longer-term planning which will, in the end, underpin the changes that we want to make.