Tory-led Government shifting NHS money from the North East to better-off areas

County Durham, Sunderland, Newcastle, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough could be hardest hit after funding change.

A previously unpublished report reveals that the Tory-led government is planning to shift NHS funding from the North East region to better-off areas.

The document, produced by Public Health Manchester for the Health Select Committee and obtained by Labour’s Debbie Abrahams MP, assesses the long-term impact of the Tory-led Government’s decision to change the way in which money is allocated to Primary Care Trusts so that it gives less weighting to health inequalities.
The figures show that the government have targeted £100m of cuts in the budgets of North East Health Trusts over the coming years.

According to the analysis, the biggest losers in the region would be County Durham with a £26m reduction in funding. Hartlepool loses £5.4m, Middlesbrough loses £7.9m, Sunderland £14.9m and Newcastle £12.3m.

Meanwhile parts of the South of England would gain over time, with Surrey gaining £61.4m, Hampshire gaining £52m, Oxfordshire gain £22.1m and Hertfordshire will receive an extra £39.7m from the government.

Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary John Healey said:

"These shocking figures reveal that the Tories’ plans for the NHS will make inequality worse, not better. They are reducing funding to tackle poor health in the least healthy parts of the country, and shifting it to better off, healthier areas."

Grahame Morris, Labour’s MP for Easington and a member of the House of Commons Health Select Committee said:

"This is yet more evidence that the Tory-led Government’s NHS plans are bad for people in the North East. Less well-off areas like County Durham will be among the biggest losers – with cash transferred instead to Hertfordshire, Hampshire and Surrey. It makes absolutely no sense to do this. We already suffer from some of the highest levels of health inequalities when compared to the South of England.

"The Tory plans will hit services that help people stop smoking, promote healthy eating and exercise, and raise awareness about the risks of sexually transmitted diseases. They will make it harder to prevent the big killers like heart disease and cancer, and increase the costs of poor health for everyone in the long run."

"It just reaffirms the message that our NHS is not safe in this Tory-led government’s hands."


Notes to editors
• The Government has reduced the weighting for health inequalities in the PCT allocation formulae for 2011/12 from 15% to 10%. The rate at which PCTs move towards these allocation targets is determined under "pace of change" rules.
• The figures are taken from a memorandum from Public Health Manchester, Manchester City Council and NHS Manchester to the Health Select Committee – full table below.
Selected quotes: "This [change in the PCT allocation formulae] results, other things being equal, in a shift in both target and actual allocations from poor health PCTs to good health PCTs. The effect on target allocations ranges from a 4.1 % reduction for Tower Hamlets PCT to a 4.2% increase for Surrey PCT."
"The reduction of the health inequalities weighting is a ministerial judgment rather than an evidence based recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation. In fact the decision seems to contradict evidence from the recent DH-commissioned research on the subject."
"This change could be interpreted as a reduction in the priority of tackling health inequalities and could be seen as contradicting the aspirations described in the recent White Papers, particularly in view of currently worsening health inequalities."
• A table of changes to allocations by PCT area and SHA area caused by the change in health inequalities weightings is attached. Source: Public Health Manchester analysis of the DH exposition book.

Health Inequalities document