The Patients Association has called for the government to 'come clean' about the future of NHS funding after pledging new Lottery money to improve home care for cancer patients.

Public health minister Yvette Cooper announced last week that the£23m living with cancer programme would be funded by the New Opportunities Fund, which uses National Lottery money to support good causes.

Patients Association assistant director Simon Williams said the extra funds were 'fairly welcome' but expressed concern that they came from Lottery money. 'Is the Lottery being used to prop up the NHS? The government should come clean if it is being used as a form of taxation, ' he said.

But Cancer Research Campaign head of clinical programmes Kate Law said the scheme was an excellent idea. Its research shows many patients wanted more treatment at home, including chemotherapy.

Successful applications for funds will be announced in September.