Published: 15/08/2002, Volume III, No. 5818 Page 6

'A guide to what areas should be spending' Speaking exclusively to HSJ, national cancer director Professor Mike Richards said that last year's 'hypothecated'£255m was 'a guide to what areas should be spending'.

'This is opposed to earmarking, which says more clearly this is how much you have to spend, and ringfencing, where services say what they want to do and how much it will cost and money is directly allocated.'

He added: 'While there is little doubt that in some parts of the country it [the£255m] didn't get through, that said, there are areas where it did.'

'The problem with ringfencing is that it goes against the philosophy of shifting the balance of power and autonomous local health management.'

He said he was 'working with the networks to try to get a clearer picture not just about the money but what was bought with the money last year'.Professor Richards added: 'We will work with the SHAs to make sure that future investments to meet targets are being funded.' Carol Lewis