NHS funds moved to richer areas, Labour says


The health secretary said the NHS budget is rising throughout England

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Labour is accusing the government of moving NHS spending in England away from poorer areas towards richer parts of the country.

It says this is because of changes to the funding for primary care trusts.

For years, areas which have higher incidences of poor health have been given a higher per-capita funding but this weighting is set to be reduced.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley called Labour's claims "nonsense" and said all areas were getting budget increases.

He said figures showed NHS spending was going up in real terms across England as a whole, and that Labour would not have matched that commitment if it had won the election.

"We're not taking money away from any parts of England, we're increasing the budget for the health service in England," said Mr Lansley.

"The average increase in each primary care trust is 3%, compared to [its] provision the previous year.

"The minimum increase is two and a half percent, and actually the minimum increase is going to Kingston upon Thames in London, which is hardly a poor area."

Labour, however, says the changes will mean less well-off areas such as Manchester and Tower Hamlets in east London losing out in the allocation of health funding, while more prosperous parts of the country - such as Surrey and Hampshire - will benefit.

Its claims are based on an assessment of funding changes made by public health bodies in Manchester.

Shadow health minister, Diane Abbott, stood by the report and said the NHS was under pressure because of a "misconceived reorganisation" by the Conservative-led government.

"A responsible government, which cared about health and equalities, that cared about the health of the poor, would not be taking money away from inner city areas.

"This isn't politics. This is about people's lives. This is about how quickly you can expect to get an operation, whether you get it as quickly as possible, whether you're made to wait artificially long - 15 weeks - rather than as quickly as possible."

The government argues that the funding changes were based on independent advice and that Labour's figures are misleading.

The Department of Health said primary care budgets in Surrey and Tower Hamlets would, in fact, increase this year by a similar amount.

It added that a greater emphasis on the prevention of illness in future would assist those living in poorer parts of England.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    Cameron made NHS promises to get elected all have been broken. Tories always default to their ideological position, undermine the NHS, privatise it, it's their raison d'etre. Since in power they've systematically undermined the work done in previous years creating a mess. If you don't vote you get what you deserve but we're all punished by stupid political apathy! Roll on 2015 let's get 'em out!

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    Labour had 13 years using borrowed money to favour their own supporters. That has to be corrected some time, so that everyone gets a National Health Service, not just a poor peoples' health service.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Until I see a full statistical analysis I don't which side is telling the truth. However, it would not surprise me if the Tories did such a thing. The UK is a serfdom governed and controlled by a parasitic pseudo-elite. These people have taken control of science and education for their own purposes, so why not health care? It is clear that ordinary people are being abused by the Government.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Comment 3 just makes me angry. I honestly cannot believe you could still be classified as human. I'm a student studying in Hull, with a brain tumor - thanks to stupid things like this, I am not getting the treatment I need. People who can afford private ought to take it. Its those in power that arent worth the life they have, because they repeatedly crush the people theyre meant to protect.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    Shouldn't every person get the same funding? I thought we had a National Health Service, not a Labour-supporters Health Service.


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