this week

Health secretary Frank Dobson has set out details of how the latest additional cash found for the NHS will be spent.

Chancellor Gordon Brown announced in the Budget that an additional£430m had been found for investment in the NHS over the next three years. The first£100m will be handed out this year to upgrade 'every accident and emergency department that needs it' and to improve access to primary care. About£30m will be used to expand the nurse-led telephone helpline NHS Direct, with an on-line version under consideration, along with pilot schemes for 'walk-in services.'

The Department of Health described reports that large shopping chains could be involved as 'speculation'.

Mr Dobson also announced that£100m of National Lottery money would be used to buy more cancer scanners and x-ray machines, improve cancer education and training and ensure better access to cancer screening.

NHS Confederation chief executive Stephen Thornton said the cash for A&E departments was a 'welcome addition', but warned: 'There are equally pressing needs to improve and upgrade other services all over the country.'

He urged the Treasury to 'review the level of capital spending for the health service'.

The British Association for Accident and Emergency Medicine warned that the cash would not eliminate trolley waits unless acute beds and trained staff were in place to 'complement the investment'.

Meanwhile, the British Medical Association found it 'sad and disappointing' that the government had decided to 'embrace a fundraising approach' to paying for essential cancer services.

GP leaders also expressed concern about plans to develop high street medical centres.

The BMA's secretary, Dr Mac Armstrong, said: 'It strikes at the heart of the concept of the GP being there as the patient's advocate from the cradle to the grave.'

Scotland's share of the Budget cash this year is£37m. Scottish health minister Sam Galbraith said£12.5m would be spent on fighting cancer.

Neither the Welsh Office nor the Northern Ireland Office could say how much money they expect to be allocated.

In England, the extra money for A&E departments will be sent to regional offices.

Northern and Yorkshire region has already drawn up outline proposals to modernise 18 A&E departments. Others have yet to give local trusts guidance.

The new money comes on top of the£30m announced earlier this year for A&E units, some of which has already been allocated to trusts that experienced serious winter pressures.

Jane Davis, manager of A&E at West Middlesex University Hospital trust, said she was interested in drawing up a bid for the money.

But she pointed out: 'We are about to undergo a£60m private finance initiative project in which the whole hospital will be rebuilt.'

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