Thursday, 2 January 2014

It is simply no longer credible for David Cameron to claim the NHS budget is not being cut but protected ...

I received this correspondence over the festive period once again drawing people's attention to the scale of cuts being imposed on the NHS in Lancashire.

This will in my view and the view of medical practitioners I have spoken to filter through to fewer services, such as longer waiting times for routine operations, higher thresholds to qualify for surgery or medical assistance, closure  of ancillary and support services such as the GP walk in centre in Accrington or consolidation on fewer sites.

These are big cuts that I have blogged about before. The CCG estimates £50m in total in East Lancashire.

It is simply no longer credible for David Cameron to claim the NHS budget is not being cut but protected for this ignores three key points.
- The huge shift in funding from deprived areas to wealthy areas
- The cost of his £3billion NHS re-organisation that he promised he wouldn't do
- Cuts in councils Elderly Social Care budgets which have to be absorbed directly and indirectly by the NHS

Researchers at the House of Commons library estimate that the Government’s new NHS regional funding formula will divert £943.6 - £726.1 million from England’s poorest areas in the north to its richest areas in the south in the April NHS regional funding allocations.

The Government claims that shifting funds is necessary because older people disproportionately use healthcare, so funding should be weighted to areas where they make up a larger part of the population. The Government’s justification, however, fails to note that south has more pensioners is due to regional inequalities in life expectancy, as southerners live on average around nine years longer than northerners.

Instead of addressing this stark inequality, the Government has instead chosen to further exacerbate it by redistributing funds from the neediest to the richest. I anticipate the impacts of this will be devastating for both health services and outcomes. While districts like Hyndburn in the north should be receiving greater funding, we will instead be paying for an increase in spending in the south. This is both unjust and morally wrong.

With crucial decisions such as this affecting Lancashire health care provision, it is no wonder that David Cameron's support in the region is lower than it was in 2010. His decisions on NHS funding are unfair and unacceptable.

Meeting of the Full Council - 12 December 2013

Dear Mr Jones, I am writing as Interim Chief Executive of Lancashire County Council to inform you that the County Council at its meeting on 12 December 2013 approved the following resolution:

"NHS England are currently consulting on possible changes to the formula that allocates funding to Clinical Commissioning Groups.

Currently CCGs are funded on a per capita and deprivation model and the govemment is proposing to change it to per capita and life expectancy.

If this was approved Lancashire would lose out on £29M a year which would have a devastating effect on local health services.

County Council also notes further funding changes which will include capital allocations for Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs), currently allocated to District Councils. being included in the integration Transformation Fund (a single pooled budget for health and social care services to be developed by Clinical Commissioning Groups with upper tier authorities and signed off by the Health and Wellbeing Board).

Council notes that the allocation to Lancashire districts totals £5.179M, that district councils supplement this funding from their own resources and that the statutory duty to provide DFGs will remain with district authorities.

I therefore, Lancashire County Council resolves:

» To ask all our Lancashire MPs to support Lancashire County Council's campaign to ensure deprivation is part of the formula for health funding allocations.
» To write to the Public Health Minister asking her to use the 'Marmot' principles to ensure increase funding should reach those parts of the UK where life expectancy is shorter rather than those areas where people live longer.

To instruct the Chief Executive to write to the Secretary of State and Lancashire MPs to express concern that the proposed funding arrangements oould lead to a lack of funding for DFGs and housing related support;

To request that Lancashire's Health and Wellbeing Board ensures that home adaptations and DFGs are included adequately in the Integration Transformance Fund Plan.
No doubt you will consider the County Council's request as set out in the resolution.

Yours sincerely
Jo Turton
Interim Chief Executive