Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham has criticised the Tory-led Government’s plans to change the NHS funding formula which will see Stockton PCT stand to lose almost £30m a year – £153 per person.
Under the changes, areas with the highest levels of deprivation will lose billions from their healthcare budgets, with wealthier areas benefitting from the change. News figures calculated by health expert Professor Bambra shows that this same rule-change would see Surrey’s NHS gain over £400M.
Department of Health considerations, revealed by Andrew Lansley last month, would introduce an age related funding model for the NHS. In a speech the Health Secretary let slip that deprivation should not be taken into account when setting budgets and greater focus should be given to age and population size.
Research done by Clare Bambra, Professor of Public Health Policy, shows budgets for affluent areas with a higher life expectancy will increase at the expense of poorer areas with a lower life expectancy. This is in spite of clear evidence that in areas of social disadvantage, local populations experience higher incidents of heart disease, cancer, emphysema, diabetes, as well as a range of other diseases caused in part by their industrial history and the work that communities undertook.
Alex MP said:
“These changes to the NHS are cynical, politically motivated, unethical and immoral, and are the single biggest attack on improving public health in Stockton. Deprivation has a massive impact on the demand on our NHS and it is scandalous for the Government to consider no longer taking this into account. Local hospitals and patients will struggle, whilst the money is directly channelled to areas where there is least need and people already live longest.
“This Government is attacking the NHS from every angle – thousands of nursing jobs are being axed and waiting times area spiralling upwards. Last week the Department of Health revealed a 90% increase in people who waited longer than 18 weeks for operations since this Tory-led Government came to power.
“Patients and the NHS deserve better.”