"Shame" of funding shake-up which could take millions of pounds from Bradford (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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"Shame" of funding shake-up which could take millions of pounds from Bradford
Health chiefs have been urged to reject a shake-up that threatens to swipe millions of pounds from Bradford – and hand it to richer areas in the South.
NHS England will decide today on a new funding formula that would shift NHS resources from deprived areas to those with more pensioners.
The most extreme proposal would snatch £10.4 million a year – or £23-per-head – from Bradford, according to the organisation’s own analysis.
And the losses would be much higher in Calderdale (£25.2m) and North Kirklees (£25.3m), with Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven (£2.3m) also a loser. Across the district, almost £90m would be taken every year from the budgets of the GP-led ‘clinical commissioning groups’ (CCGs), which buy treatments for patients.
But there would be huge funding leaps in David Cameron’s own area of Oxfordshire (£39.5m), and the Tory heartlands of Dorset (£67.8m), West Sussex (£56.1m) and West Kent (£39.8m).
Following a fierce backlash, NHS England suggested it was rethinking the draconian proposal and will continue to protect poorer areas to some degree. However, the Telegraph & Argus understands that only two of the four options to be discussed by its board today will award any funds on grounds of deprivation.
Gerry Sutcliffe, Labour MP for Bradford South, said anyone bringing in such a funding shift should “hang their heads in shame”.
He said: “The unfairness of moving this money takes healthcare back to the bad old days and means that those that can least afford to lose are set to do so.” Health professionals have described the proposed changes as “very worrying” – warning of “significant cuts in services for patients” if it goes ahead.
But Mr Cameron has sidestepped the row, insisting any new formula is the responsibility of NHS England, an independent body.
The “fair shares formula” – first proposed a year ago, but dropped after protests – was forward by the independent Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation’s (ACRA).
It is designed to better reflect the higher costs of caring for an ageing population, say experts, and any changes are likely to be phased over several years. But, embarrassingly for the Prime Minister, only months before the 2010 general election, he promised to introduce a “health premium”, to target spending at poorer areas.
And he said, in 2010: “Health inequalities in 21st century Britain are as wide as they were in Victorian times.”
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