Extra nurses and doctors welcomed but funding is not the only issue, says The King's Fund

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'The Chancellor's pledge to recruit an extra 80,000 nurses and 25,000 doctors by 2008, funded by the National Insurance increase, will go a long way to ease the crisis in health service staffing,' The King's Fund chief executive Rabbi Julia Neuberger said today after the 2003 Budget speech.

'However, tackling recruitment and retention is a complex problem and money is only part of the solution. And it is not only nurses and doctors who provide health care in the NHS. It is vital that we also have more professions allied to health care - occupational therapists, physiotherapists and radiographers - for example.

'Overall the extra money provided by the National Insurance increase is very welcome but it must be spent as efficiently as possible. We need more clarity and independence about where it is spent and what impact it is having. The new Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection is ideally placed to monitor performance as long as it is sufficiently distant from government.

'It is also important to recognise the Chancellor's efforts to tackle poverty and social exclusion - key contributors to poor health. In this Budget, this includes measures to make it easier for asylum seekers to seek work and employment training for young offenders.'

Notes to editors

For further information or interviews with The King's Fund staff please contact the public affairs office on 020 7307 2581/2585.