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Health Services: Rural Areas

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what studies his Department has undertaken into the costs of administering healthcare in rural locations. (254724)

The cost of administering health care in rural locations has been considered by the Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation (ACRA). ACRA is an independent body that oversees the development of the weighted capitation formula, used to inform primary care trust (PCT) revenue allocations, and makes recommendations to ministers on potential changes to the funding formula prior to each allocations round. ACRA's latest report has been placed in the Library and at:

www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_091484

Both ACRA and its predecessor, the Resource Allocation Group, have commissioned independent research into how the weighted capitation formula takes account of the issues faced in rural areas, both in terms of additional need for health care and the additional cost of providing health care in rural areas. In particular, ‘Combining Age Related and Additional Needs (CARAN) Report’ and ‘Review of Specific Cost Approach to Staff Market Forces Factor’, which consider the impact of rurality on health care needs and costs respectively.

In addition, ‘A Study of Costs of Providing Health Services in Rural Areas’, led to the introduction of the emergency ambulance cost adjustment , in recognition of the geographical cost differences found for emergency ambulance services.

These research reports have also been placed in the Library and can be accessed at:

www.dh.gov.uk/en/Managingyourorganisation/Financeandplanning/Allocations/DH_4108515