New research suggests the North East would lose out under a proposed new formula for distributing NHS funding. The Durham University study says changes could reduce services in areas like Sunderland and widen the North-South divide.
The funding is allocated to the newly formed Clinical Commissioning Groups which are responsible for services like accident and emergency, elective hospital treatment and community health.
Using data provided by NHS England, the Durham researchers mapped the difference in funding per person between the current formula and the proposed new calculation.
They say the new formula favours more affluent areas and penalises poorer regions. For example:
- In Sunderland, NHS funding would decrease by £146 per person
- In South Tees, funding would go down by £60 per person
- In South Eastern Hampshire, funding would increase by £164 per person
So why are the changes being considered?
Until now, the funding calculation has taken deprivation into account when distributing money. The formula now under consideration puts greater emphasis on age. As a result, areas where people live longer would receive more money.
NHS England says the proposed formula is under review and will be adjusted before it is implemented. Its board will meet in December to decide the next steps. It also says the money it distributes to CCGs is only one part of wider NHS funding.