The ConDem Government is currently proposing changes to the NHS funding formula, doing away with the current deprivation-related measure, known as the `health inequality weighting', and leaving a greater emphasis on age as a factor in funding.
It's an absolute fact that people in wealthy areas live up to, and over, ten years longer than those in poorer areas, so the proposals will see a shift in resources towards those richer areas.
Professor Clare Bambra and Dr Alison Copeland from Durham University have mapped the NHS funding changes that would happen as a result of the proposals, which show huge swathes of the North, losing out… "The more affluent, healthier South East will benefit most and the poorer, less healthy North will lose out substantially" they conclude.
Under the proposed new formula, Salford will gain 1.9% or £35 per person, while the affluent South East Hampshire will gain almost 14%, or £164 per person. Meanwhile, North Manchester actually gets a cut per person of £103, or over 8%, while Central Manchester loses almost 5%, or £50 per person.
Huge swathes of the North will lose out to the affluent South East. Sunderland, for instance, where healthy life expectancy is just 58 years for women, will see NHS funding decrease by £146 per person, or 11%. Deprived parts of the South are also being hit, with Camden in London getting a massive decrease in funding of £273 per person, or 27%.
"Although these changes are not on the scale that a purely 'age only' allocation formula would produce, they are still sufficient to undermine the principle of equal opportunity of access for equal need" write Professor Clare Bambra and Dr Alison Copeland in the British Medical Journal "They are also potentially a first step towards an age only allocation, and they could widen the north-south health divide by reducing NHS services in the North."
See full Government Proposals – click here
See proposed funding allocations – click here
See previous Salford Star article on the health divide within Salford - click here
UPDATE: 18th October
Responding to Clare Bambra and Dr Alison Copeland piece in the British Medical Journal, Andy Burnham, Labour's Shadow Health Secretary, has pleadged to force a vote in the House of Commons on the ConDem Government's plans to re-allocate NHS funding on the basis of age rather than inequality.