§ Mr. McWalter
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement about the implications of the Comprehensive Spending Review for health authorities which have in 1998–99 a significant deficit on their current account, with particular reference to West Hertfordshire. 
§ Mr. Milburn
The extra resources of £21 billion (United Kingdom) announced as the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) for the years 1999–2000 to 2001–2002 will be used to modernise and reform services.
We have already made an additional £1.7 billion (UK) available for the National Health Service in 1998–99. The NHS Executive has issued firm guidance that the need for financial balance is critical; and the majority of health authorities in England with financial problems are expected to achieve a balanced financial position by the end of 1998–99. In certain specific cases, where there are deep seated structural problems, this may not be achievable by the end of the current year and a health authority may be allowed to regain financial balance over a number of years. The regional offices of the NHS Executive have developed recovery plans for those NHS bodies with significant deficits. The plan for West Hertfordshire aims to achieve financial balance as soon as possible.