The government’s claim to have improved the NHS with “record investment” looked hollow last week, as it was revealed that the budget for new hospitals and equipment has been underspent by a third.
According to the Financial Times, only £4.2 billion of the £6.2 billion 2008 budget for NHS capital expenditure in England will be used. This means more delays for planned improvements.
Ministers say the unspent money will be returned to the NHS in later years. But spending plans for the health service beyond 2009 have not been published – so health authorities will be unable to verify that the carried over money exists.
Gordon Brown claims that his new cabinet will champion the NHS and right previous wrongs. But the man responsible for this budgetary sleight of hand was none other than Brown himself.