Health service £68m boost

HEALTH services in Suffolk are to receive a £68m boost in funding next year, The Evening Star can reveal today.Figures unveiled by health secretary John Reid show that the five primary care trusts in Suffolk will receive £818.

HEALTH services in Suffolk are to receive a £68m boost in funding next year, The Evening Star can reveal today.

Figures unveiled by health secretary John Reid show that the five primary care trusts in Suffolk will receive £818.8m in central government funding next year - up from £750m this year.

This nine per cent increase, three times the current rate of inflation, is designed to help deliver faster operations, drive down waiting times, provide quicker access to GP and recruit more staff.

However, health bosses have warned that the extra money must not be seen as the answer to all of the financial problems currently plaguing the region's NHS.

The most recent figures for Suffolk's PCTs show a combined debt of £29m and the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire region has one of the three biggest debts of any Strategic Health Authority in the country.

A spokesman for the Strategic Health Authority said: "The additional allocation of funds is welcome and should help us to improve services for the public.

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"However, we are still financially challenged and this allocation will not solve that.

"This additional funding has got to be invested in better healthcare, but it does give us breathing space to iron out the financial problems."

The figures also revealed that in the year after next Suffolk's PCTs will receive £904m - meaning a total investment of £1.7 billion in Suffolk's PCTS between April 2006 and March 2008.

This works out at an average of £1,271 for every person in the county, which is still significantly below the national average of £1,388.

Nationally, the figures show a record level of investment across the country.

Dr Reid has promised disadvantaged areas of the country will get more money in order to address their increased needs.

Only three of the thirty most deprived PCTs are in East Anglia. They are East Cambs and Fenland, West Norfolk and Great Yarmouth. These PCTs have seen increases of up to 15pc.

What do you think the money should be spent on? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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