Ashfield set to face cut in health funding

ASHFIELD MP Gloria De Piero has hit out after research revealed that Ashfield could lose out to wealthier regions under radical health spending reforms.

Latest figures, produced by Public Health Manchester for the Health Select Committee, have revealed that 5,510 children are living in poverty across the district with life expectancy for both men and woman lower than the England average.

The life expectancy is 7.6 years lower for men and 13.1 years lower for women in the most deprived areas of Ashfield with estimated levels of adult healthy eating, smoking and obesity worse than the England average.

Rates of smoking related deaths are also higher than the national average, while there was an alarming 2,778 hospital stays for alcohol related harm and more than 5,000 cases of diabetes.

NHS Nottinghamshire County is already facing a budget shortfall next year and changes to NHS funding formulas will also see a near £4m reduction in funding to tackle entrenched health inequalities such as low life expectancy.

But Miss De Piero says that by contrast wealthy parts of south-east England will gain considerably with Surrey PCT gaining £61m and Hampshire PCT gaining another £25m.

“The Government promised to protect health spending but it seems they are only doing this in leafy areas and this comes on top of the decision to close the NHS Walk-In Centre in Kirkby,” she said.

“This Government doesn’t seem to care about health in areas like ours.”

Miss De Piero says she is now planning to tackle the issue of health inequality with health secretary Andrew Lansley when Parliament resumes in September.

The Department of Health currently makes revenue allocations to Primary Care Trusts on the basis of the relative needs of their populations as well as prioritising low-performing health areas within each Trust.

Primary Care Trusts do not receive their allocation immediately but are moved to it over a number of years.

In December last year, the Government announced a total of £89billion in PCT revenue allocations for 2011-12.

For a full report visit the Public Health Observatories website at www.apho.org.uk and search ‘Ashfield’.