NHS Plan To Move Health Funding To Areas With Older People Attracts Criticism

17 December 2013

NHS Plan To Move Health Funding To Areas With Older People Attracts Criticism

NHS management will be finalising plans today for the redistribution of funding which could mean that almost £1bn worth of resources will be diverted from the poorest areas in England to the richest.

The plan has already attracted controversy and if implemented would mean that the north of England and London would lose a considerable amount of NHS funding, with the money instead diverted to the south, Midlands and east of England. Labour MP’s from less affluent areas of the country have already expressed their worries that the inequality in health standards between rich and poor will be widened as a result.

The original reasoning behind the shift in funding was that it was deemed to be necessary by the government because more older people use healthcare in general terms, and so funding should be allocated and weighted towards the regions of the country where their numbers are greater.

The shadow health secretary, Andy Burnham, said that the poorest parts of the country would instead now be deprived of health services. "They are going to be siphoning almost a billion pounds out of some of the poorest parts of England to give it to areas where healthy life expectancy is already the longest. This would be a kick in the teeth for the poorest parts of the country. How can that be justified?

"This is a colossal shift in NHS resources and in NHS thinking. It's a dangerous road to be going down because [if age is prioritised and deprivation downgraded] it breaches a fundamental principle of the NHS that need is the prime consideration."

The exact implementation will be agreed later today as the specific weighting of the funds has already been approved.

Burnham has already penned a letter to Professor Sir Malcolm Grant, chairman of NHS England, asking him to instead implement a more efficient formula so that inequalities between poorer and richer areas are not exacerbated.

John Mann, Labour MP for Bassetlaw, Nottinghamshire, has also written to NHS England's chief executive, Sir David Nicholson, stating that: "The potential impact on health services and health outcomes will be devastating. We in the north appear to be paying for an increase in spending in the south." The moving of resources from poorer to more affluent areas of England "is not only unfair, it is morally wrong", he added.

If you live in one the areas mentioned above in this article, we would welcome your views and if you have experienced any form of medical mistreatment which you feel  has already been impacted by this funding shift-or will in future- Mistreatment.com are able to provide you with advice and support about your patient rights and where you stand. We have specialists across the country who can provide relevant advice, guidance and support about your healthcare rights.