Antiquated, over-complicated and bureaucratic funding formulae have left NHS services in areas such as East Cheshire significantly short-changed for many years. Here is a simplified explanation of how the population of East Cheshire has been discriminated against by numerous governments over the years. As a result, your NHS services are now at breaking point, with your front-line GP practices bearing the brunt of chronic under-funding.
Government funding allocations don’t take much notice of ageing populations
NHS England’s own publication, Five Year Forward View, highlighted that the cost of providing healthcare is directly related to the age of the population. Ageing populations need more referrals to hospital, more medication and more care from GP surgeries.
Quite simply, the costs of providing healthcare rise dramatically as the age of the elderly population increases as the graph below, from the BBC, illustrates.
FACT: East Cheshire has the fastest ageing population in North West (2016).
Residents over the age of 75: East Cheshire has 951 more than its peers.
Residents over the age of 85: East Cheshire has 538 more than its peers.
Residents over the age of 95: East Cheshire has 72 more than its peers.
- By way of context this equates to £1.75m more expenditure in acute services; compared to national Peers (£9.64m compared to the national average).
- The same principle could be applied to most other areas of healthcare spend, eg. Continuing Health Care, Funded Nursing Care, Prescribing, Community services, etc.
- It is obvious that East Cheshire residents are being treated grossly unfairly compared to residents in other parts of the country.
Solution: Fairer allocation of funding to NHS Services in East Cheshire based on actual demand for healthcare.
Government funding allocations discriminate against areas it perceives to be “affluent.”
In terms of funding allocations per resident, East Cheshire is in the bottom 20% of England. Money is channeled to areas perceived to have a higher healthcare NEED despite all the evidence showing that the DEMAND for healthcare is actually higher in areas with larger elderly populations such as “affluent” East Cheshire. Whilst it is essential that governments address health inequalities, this cannot and should not be done at the expense of East Cheshire residents who continue to be chronically short changed, with their NHS services now beginning to fail as a result.
East Cheshire taxpayers attract approximately £1182 of NHS funding per resident per year (2016-2017). Nearby Knowsley taxpayers attract approximately £1610 of NHS funding per resident per year. Some other nearby areas fare even better. It cannot be right that, whilst historically underfunded East Cheshire is constantly in a spiral of growing deficit, other areas in the North West with younger populations are left with yearly budgetary under-spends.
At a GP Practice level, funding variations produced by blunt allocation formulae can be stark. Many GP Surgeries in East Cheshire have a “weighting” applied to the funding they receive for each registered patient. Some practices in East Cheshire receive just £100 per patient per year, well below the national average as illustrated below. GP surgeries are understaffed and overstretched with some struggling to survive. GPs are taking early retirement and others are migrating to work in other areas or even other countries where healthcare is not under as much financial pressure.
Discriminatory funding allocations, at both a CCG and GP practice level, now pose a serious threat to the health of East Cheshire residents. It’s time for politicians to understand this and address this unfairness as soon as possible, before its too late.
Solution: Stop the use of unfair funding formulae which deprive the hard-working tax-payers of East Cheshire of NHS Services. Base funding on actual demand for healthcare.