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NHS benefits from £29bn facelift

A comprehensive assessment of the NHS has showed that patients have benefited from the £29bn investment into hospitals and equipment over the last decade.

Without this cash injection the government says that staff would have lacked state-of-the-art facilities and equipment needed to slash patient waiting times.

A total of £4.9bn helped to build 88 major hospital schemes since 1997 and another 24 are currently under construction.

Up to 2,848 GP practices have been either refurbished or replaced and 674 primary care centres opened.

Since April 2000, hospitals have received more than 1,300 pieces of modern equipment to diagnose and treat cancer.

Thanks to these investments, NHS patients are waiting for a shorter time to see a family doctor and getting a better quality of care, says the report.

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said: "Ten years ago the NHS was in a dire need of a facelift. The public told the government then that they wanted to see dramatic improvements in the quality of hospitals, GP surgeries and equipment - and we have listened.

"It's thanks to this massive investment that we have been able to lift the NHS out of the Victorian era and into the 21st Century."

Department of Health