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NHS news in brief

Our weekly round of NHS and healthcare stories

Brown's boost for medical research

Chancellor Gordon Brown wants to enhance the research and development system in the NHS by establishing a National Institute for Health Research as well as 10 academic medical centres of excellency. It is hoped the plan will attract up to £1bn of private sector investment to aid the development of new drugs. During his speech at the Advancing Enterprise conference in London, Brown also said that a computer database would be set up to allow researchers to draw on the experiences of NHS patients, while government funding for stem cell research would double to £100m over the next two years.

NHS overspends by £200m

NHS chief executive Nigel Crisp has announced that the health service is planning to run a deficit of £200m this year, because clawing back last year's £250m overspend is proving more difficult than expected. He added that the `minimum goal' for 2006-7 would be to get the NHS back into financial balance. Back in September, Sir Nigel said NHS deficits were ìunacceptableî and warned staff that poor financial management ìcan erode public confidence in the management of the NHS as a wholeî. Steve Webb for the Liberal Democrats said the government's market-driven reforms had created ìmassive instability in the NHSî.

NHS pay rise to be capped at 2 per cent

In his Pre-Budget report, chancellor Gordon Brown has said that NHS pay must stay in line with the government's 2 per cent target for inflation. He said that health secretary Patricia Hewitt would recommend the cap on pay rises to the Pay Review Body. The British Medical Association has reacted to the news by warning that a 2 per cent rise would do nothing to improve recruitment and retention of health workers to the NHS. ìThe BMA would urge the review body responsible for doctors' pay to recognise the enormous contribution that doctors are making to deliver far-reaching reforms across the NHS,î said a BMA spokesman.

30th September 2008

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