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New allocation formula will “worsen north-south divide”


21 October 2013

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NHS England’s allocation formula review undermines the principle of “equal opportunity of access”, researchers have warned. 
The current formula is weighted towards giving areas with higher levels of deprivation more funding. 
Changes proposed by the NHS England could soon give more funding to areas with higher numbers of older people, following the current consultation.  

NHS England’s allocation formula review undermines the principle of “equal opportunity of access”, researchers have warned. 
The current formula is weighted towards giving areas with higher levels of deprivation more funding. 
Changes proposed by the NHS England could soon give more funding to areas with higher numbers of older people, following the current consultation.  
But Professor Clare Bambra and Dr Alison Copeland from Durham University believe that  “the more affluent, healthier south east will benefit most and the poorer, less healthy north will lose out substantially.”
Using data from NHS England, they compared the proposed “weighted capitation formula” to the current allocations formula. 
Professor Bambra and Dr Copeland’s research showed that in clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) like South Eastern Hampshire, where healthy life expectancy is 68 years for women, NHS funding will increase by £164 per person (an increase of 14%). 
This is at the expense of CCGs such as Sunderland, where healthy life expectancy is 58 years for women and where NHS funding will decrease by £146 per person (a decrease of 11%).
More deprived parts of London will also lose out, they add, with Camden receiving £273 less per head (a decrease of 27%). 
                  

The researchers said: “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. 
“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.” 

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