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Skills shortages could hinder goverment's NHS investment plan


SKILL SHORTAGES threaten to undermine government plans to boost hospital capacity, healthcare managers warned this week Hospital designers and project managers are already working flat out on ongoing upgrades and new projects, said David Hartshorne, a director of hospital management company Health Care Projects.

Last week, the government announced plans to build 42 new hospitals by 2008 as part of a plan to reduce the average age of its hospital buildings to 30 years by 2012/13.

'A lot of the design resources are committed already, ' said Hartshorne, adding the same was true of management working on existing NHS capital works plans.

Many companies are already bringing in resources from overseas, he added. This must continue if government plans are to be met by the deadline.

Details of the NHS investment programme followed Chancellor Gordon Brown's Budget promise to give the NHS an extra £2.4bn for 2002-03, and commitment to a further 7.4% rise on this spend over the next five years, funded by an increase in national insurance contributions.

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