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PM reveals £140m NHS funding boost
David Cameron is to reaffirm his commitment to the NHS with the announcement of £140 million in funding to ease the burden of red tape on nurses and midwives, enabling them to spend more time with patients.
As Conservative activists begin gathering in Birmingham for the party's annual conference, the Prime Minister will also pledge additional cash to ensure cancer patients have access to advanced radiotherapy treatment.
At the start of what could be a tricky week, he will use a visit to a hospital to focus on an issue which has been central to the changes which he has made to the party since becoming leader.
The new announcements will include £100 million for the latest software and other devices for NHS nurses and midwives in England to cut the time spent on form-filling and management processes like rotas.
The money will initially be made available in the form of loans, although hospitals will only have to pay back a proportion depending on how well they perform according to feedback from patients and the public.
There will be a further £40 million to help ward sisters and community team leaders develop their leadership skills - with training and support for 1,000 staff this year rising to 10,000 over the next two years.
Mr Cameron will also announce a £15 million cancer radiotherapy innovation fund, with a guarantee that from next April all cancer patients in England have access to the most innovative radiotherapy where clinically appropriate and cost-effective.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "Most nurses and midwives chose their profession because they wanted to spend time caring for patients, not filling out paperwork. New technology can make that happen.
"That's better for nurses and patients too, who will get swifter information and more face-to-face time with NHS staff. The importance of these issues was laid bare by doctors' and nursing leaders. The Government's role is to listen to the NHS and support these leaders - that's what we're doing."
The announcement comes after Ed Miliband sought to paint Labour as the true "One Nation" party in a well-received speech to his party conference last week in Manchester. His apparent success will have only added to the restive mood among Conservatives assembling in Birmingham.