12 December 2002: The health secretary Alan Milburn announced a three year 30% in spending on the National Health Service (NHS) after official figures showed that a 20% increase in the past two years had produced only marginal improvement in hospital activity.
These figures show that while spending rose by 21.5% in the two years to 2002, finished consultant episodes (the standard measure of treatment) rose by just 1.6%.
Hospital admissions fell and 284,000 fewer patients were admitted from the list last year than in 1999.
The statistics were condemned as a “a policy failure” by Dr Liam Fox, the Conservative health spokesman.
By Barbara Cockburn