CCG budget set to top £100bn
NHS England says that controversial new funding allocations for Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) will see their funding rise from £96 billion to £100 billion over the next 2 years.
Following an extensive review, which included a submission from Public Health England (PHE), NHS England agreed a new funding formula for local health commissioning which it says is based on more accurate, detailed data and including a deprivation measure specifically aimed at tackling health inequalities.
Howover Labour says that the revised formula which makes the number of elderly people per CCG catchment area more significant in terms of funding, will divert cash away from poor areas.
Shadow health secretary, Andy Burnham, who has already written to NHS England chief executive Malcolm Grant asking him to reconsider, said: "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."
But NHS England says CCGs will receive a funding increase matching inflation in the next years, with the most underfunded areas, and those with fast-growing populations, receiving more. At a meeting last week the NHS England board adopted a new funding formula that it says will more accurately reflect population changes and include a specific deprivation measure.
It says CCG funding will rise from £96bn to £100bn over the next two years, so despite wider public sector budget cuts the NHS is being protected from inflation at a time of austerity.
It says the changes follow an extensive review into funding allocations. The new funding formula for local health commissioning is based on more accurate, detailed data and including a deprivation measure specifically aimed at tackling health inequalities.
Duncan Selbie, chief executive of PHE, said: "We welcome these allocations and congratulate NHS England for weighting on inequalities and especially for recognising the extra contribution of primary care in addressing these."
Paul Baumann, chief financial officer for NHS England, said: "We have an absolute duty to tackle health inequalities and to ensure equal access for equal need right across the country. That is why we conducted a year-long review of funding allocations taking on board many views and extensively engaging with local healthcare commissioners and partners.
"We must ensure funding is equitable and fair and we have used the review period to ensure that funding is based on up-to-date and detailed information and it takes into account the three main factors in healthcare needs: population growth, deprivation and the impact of an ageing population."