£30m in NHS cuts averted in East Lancashire

Steve Holgate

Steve Holgate

First published in News Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Health Reporter

COUNTY bosses have spoken of their relief after the NHS rejected a new funding formula that would have seen Lancashire lose about £30m per year.

Following pressure from local authorities in the north of England, including Lancashire County Council, NHS England agreed to include a deprivation measure specifically aimed at tackling health inequalities.

The agreement will remain until 2016, with all CCGs given at least a 2.14per cent increase in funding in 2014/15 and 1.7per cent the following year.

It followed a review into funding allocations for clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), which was aimed at shifting cash to underfunded areas in the Midlands and east of England, many of which have fast-growing populations.

Dozens of CCGs will remain underfunded, according to a ‘per head’ calculation, with NHS chiefs now taking a more cautious approach to shifting resources from the north of England, which benefits most under the current arrangement.

Steve Holgate, chairman of Lancashire’s Health Scrutiny Committee, said: “The proposals could not only have cost our county nearly £30million, but we would have seen funding drained from the poorest and most vulnerable areas.

“I am pleased to see that our representations to the public health minister, and our visits to parliament on behalf of residents in Lancashire, have gone some way to helping convince bosses at NHS England that they cannot ignore deprivation when deciding on funding for vital health services in our communities.”

Paul Baumann, chief financial officer for NHS England, said: “Some areas have not had the funding per head that they need, particularly where population has grown quickly and funding has remained relatively static. These areas are now at risk of not being able to provide the services needed by their population, so we need to tackle these differences in funding as a matter of urgency.”

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