Published: 26/09/2002, Volume II2, No. 5824 Page 5

There is an 'unexplained gap' between the government's planned extra spending on the NHS and its projected increases in staffing and resources, the Office of Health Economics has warned.

Comparing the future investment outlined in this year's budget and the Wanless report projections with the planned increases in the numbers of doctors, nurses and bed numbers, OHE director Adrian Towse said that 'only about half of the increases are going on employing staff and other specific commitments from the NHS plan'.

He said: 'What we are saying is that It is not clear where the rest of the money is directed.

'The government's increased spending on healthcare is very welcome and is having a positive impact on key health targets.

However, NHS expenditure is planned to grow much faster than staffing and bed capacity. The government has not made it clear where all this extra money is going. It is vital the money is used for better healthcare, rather than just more expensive healthcare.'