LONDON, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Britain's Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced on Wednesday that the government will fund the National Health Service (NHS) 760 million British pounds (about 1 billion U.S. dollars) to modernize and transform 40 hospitals.
Described it as the biggest investment of its kind in the NHS in over 10 years, Hunt said "As the NHS approaches its 70th birthday, we are backing it with one of the largest capital programs in NHS history."
According to Hunt, the money will be spent on programs to meet local demand, such as new urgent care centers and refurbishing mental health facilities.
Hunt said further major projects are also under consideration across the country and the government.
The government said it is also releasing 213 million U.S. dollars to support the NHS's work to become more efficient.
The announcement came just hours after Prime Minister Theresa May told a committee of MPs in the House of Commons that she would come up with a blueprint later this year to allow the NHS to plan for the future with a multi-year funding plan.
Labour's Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said years starving the NHS of funds has resulted in the worst winter crisis on record, the ongoing drastic shortage of healthcare staff and the abandoning of minimum legal standards of care which patients are entitled to.
Ashworth said Labour would fund the NHS by an extra 5 billion pounds (7 billion U.S. dollars) this year, end privatization of NHS services, and secure a sustainable future for social care.