HEALTH secretary Alan Milburn has been caught out fiddling the figures again. He claimed that New Labour's budget last month would mean an extra 15,000 doctors in the NHS by 2008. Yet his figures incorporate thousands of new doctors already pledged two years earlier.
In July 2000 the government had promised an extra 9,500 doctors by 2004. But it has only recruited 2,735. The near 7,000 shortfall has now been incorporated into Milburn's 'new' target. The Department of Health also admitted that just 714 new beds have been introduced to the NHS since ministers promised 7,000 more two years ago.