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Darzi: NHS must be more efficient in spending cash

By Gareth Iacobucci

Out-going health minister Lord Darzi has warned the NHS that it will have to be more efficient in the way it spends as the health service is increasingly forced to tighten its belt.

Speaking on BBC2's Newsnight, Lord Darzi, who officially stood down as health minister last week, defended the Government's record on health, saying the huge investment had brought the NHS ‘off its knees'.

However, he conceded that growth rates would not continue against the backdrop of a global recession, and said it was imperative that the principles of his next stage review were applied in order to generate greater savings.

‘We've seen tremendous growth rates, I don't expect those to be sustained. We have a responsibility. The NHS is not free, it is taxpayers' money, so it's vitally important that whatever we're spending, we need to spend that better. Quality may be cheaper.'

‘This Government has put a huge amount of resource into the NHS, has built on the NHS, and got it off its knees. However, the challenges in the future are very different.'

The ex-minister, whose focus on policies such as access and GP-led health centres made him a controversial figure among GPs, defended his record since taking on the role to years ago.

‘Looking back, what I achieved in two years far exceeded what I thought I would achieve at the start,' he said.

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