The NHS Confederation has questioned Department of Health claims that its infection control strategy is being supported by £270m of new money.

The DH last week said the£270m had been identified as part of October's comprehensive spending review and was included in the 5.5 per cent increase in primary care trust allocations and 2.3 per cent increase to the national tariff.

But there is no reference to the£270m in the published spending review documents.

NHS Confederation policy director Nigel Edwards said: "I thought we'd seen the back of statements to the effect of 'it's in the baseline'. That money may legitimately appear to be there from the point of view of the department, but from the point of view of people at the front line it is just another cost pressure."

The£270m which the DH has said should be earmarked for infection control, and where appropriate hiring extra staff, is equivalent to 7 per cent of the£3.8bn increase PCTs will receive in 2008-09.