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NHS money 'must reach the wards'.

Byline: By Jane Tyler

STAFF working on the frontline of the NHS in the West Midlands have given a wary welcome to the Chancellor's pounds 10 billion cash injection.

They said it was good news - as long as the money reached the wards and patients.

Ann Leedham, regional director of the Royal College of Nursing, said: "Obviously it's very welcome but I'm worried about how it will be spent locally.

"It's all very well giving out the money - the Government has been very generous over the last 10 years - but it's how it's spent, that's crucial."

She said she hoped that next year would not see a repeat of the recent NHS trust deficits, job cuts and ward closures.

"You only have to look at what happened to the massive amount of redundancies at City and Sandwell hospitals to see the downside of bad NHS spending," she said.

"Although pounds 10bn may seem an enormous amount of money, if you've got poor management at an NHS trust the frontline services won't see any benefit of it."

She said she hoped that some of the money would go towards employing qualified nurses.

"The Government spends thousands training nurses but then there isn't a job for them at the end of it," she said.

Ray Salmon, regional organiser for health workers' union Unison, also gave the pounds 10bn a cautious welcome.

"Of course extra money is a good thing but it must be spent properly and reach the frontline," he said.

"The last thing we want to see is more job cuts."
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Mar 22, 2007
Words:260
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