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Cash boost announced for PCTs

Health Minister Andy Burnham today announced details of £382m of capital funding for primary care trusts (PCTs) for the next financial year.

This money represents a 30% increase than the allocation last year and PCTs will be able to use the extra cash to acquire and modernise buildings, equipment and land.

The money is split into three separate pots:

  • £167m allocated directly to PCTs as operational capital to be used to maintain and modernise their building stocks and replace equipment.
  • £156m for strategic capital for PCTs to use to fund new equipment and buildings.
  • £60m to modernise dental premises and equipment.

Decisions about how best to invest this funding will be taken by local NHS organisations who understand the needs of local people. The Department of Health believes that this will help to deliver improvements needed to meet national targets and local priorities and improve the patient experience. For example, investing in scanners and other diagnostic equipment could help ensure that by 2008 no patient waits longer than 18 weeks from referral to treatment and that better diagnostic services are available locally.

The £60m capital injection for dental surgeries reflects the need to match the working environments of dentists with the high-quality services that they are already providing. PCTs can use this money to give greater financial support to help dentists establish new surgeries or to upgrade existing ones.

Minister for Delivery and Reform, Andy Burnham, said: "This funding will mean that patients will have better facilities and access to more sophisticated equipment which will benefit the community for years to come.

"By allowing the local NHS to distribute the money, we are ensuring that the needs of patients are put first. It will also help continue the work of the white paper to bring care closer to home by building new facilities, in the heart of the community.

"We are making huge changes to the NHS, reforming the system and providing more convenient care, closer to patients' homes. At the same time, it's important that we continue to provide the funding to modernise NHS buildings and equipment, for the benefit of patients in the long term as well as the short term. Investment in buildings and equipment is investment in the future of the NHS."

This money is in addition to the £750m over five years that was announced last year for new community hospitals.