District's GPs could lose £90m in NHS funding with new 'formula' (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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District's GPs could lose £90m in NHS funding with new 'formula'
Up to £90m will be stripped from health funding locally and handed to richer areas with more pensioners, the T&A can reveal.
NHS chiefs plan to move the vital cash from deprived areas to cope with the rising costs of caring for older people – more of whom live in the south.
They argue the “fair shares formula” – first proposed a year ago, but dropped after protests – will meet the daunting challenges of an ageing population.
But Bradford Council’s leader David Green, who is in charge of public health, has called the changes “short-sighted and potentially dangerous”.
Figures seen by the T&A reveal the enormous loss to the new GP-led ‘clinical commissioning groups’ (CCGs) in West Yorkshire, which buy treatments for patients.
If the formula had been applied this year, Bradford City CCG would have lost £3m, 2.7 per cent of its funding, which would fall from £113.9m to £110.9m.
Bradford Districts CCG would have lost £7.4m, or 1.9 per cent, seeing its funding cut from £390.7m to £383.3m.
Calderdale CCG would have lost £25.1m, or 10.9 per cent of its funding, from £255.6m to £230.5m.
And North Kirklees CCG would have seen even more disappear – £25.3m or 13.3 per cent of its £215.5m budget, which would fall to £190.2 million.
There would also be losses at Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven CCG, which would lose £2.3m, 1.3 per cent of its funding, from £182.6m to £180.3m, and Leeds West CCG (£26.09m, 7.4 per cent), bringing the total to £89.23m.
But the projections show a huge leap in funding in Prime Minister David Cameron’s own area of Oxfordshire (£39.52m), as well as in Dorset (£67.84m), West Sussex (£56.05m) and West Kent (£39.83m).
This week, Mr Cameron ducked a challenge to defend what one MP from the North-East called a “devastating” cut to health funding.
Instead, he pointed to the current financial year, insisting the Coalition had protected NHS spending – in contrast to Labour’s policy at the last election.
Coun Green, who chairs Bradford’s Health and Wellbeing Board, called the proposed changes “short-sighted and potentially dangerous to the health of the majority of the population”.
He added: “I believe that health should be funded on the basis of need, whether that is the need of older people, younger people or proven health issues in a CCG area.”
A spokesman for Bradford City and Bradford Districts Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) called for the formula to be altered to address the problem of health inequalities.
She said: “We have given feedback to NHS England on the proposed new funding formula for CCGs and we await the findings of its review in December.
“We believe the basis of the allocation needs to be reviewed to account for health inequalities, which it does not at the moment.”
Coun Mike Gibbons (Con, Ilkley), chairman of Bradford Council’s health and social care overview and scrutiny committee, backed the CCGs’ call for the formula to be looked at again.
He said: “Obviously any reduction in the funding available could mean services are once again starved of vital cash. Age shouldn’t be taken in isolation to equate the funding for Bradford. There are very many factors that should be looked at.
“The Bradford area needs its resources to maintain the valued and extensive work of the CCGs.”
Coun Jeanette Sunderland (Lib Dem, Idle) said it was “bizarre” there would be less funding using the formula when the Council’s health and social care committee often heard there was an increasing elderly population and it was “struggling to cope”.
Bradford South MP Gerry Sutcliffe said: “This change is only going to disadvantage people who are already disadvantaged.
“There are increasing challenges on the NHS budget, but the Government needs to make sure that those most in need are getting the appropriate funding.”
A spokesman for NHS England said the new formula had been put forward by the independent Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation’s (ACRA).
A report by the body, giving an overview of ACRA’s recommendations, said people “do not have identical needs for health care services”.
The plans are currently out to consultation, ahead of final proposals to be published in December and a phased implementation beginning next April.
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