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Health Allocation Formula

Volume 548: debated on Tuesday 17 July 2012

The independent Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation is reviewing the allocation of resources for the NHS through clinical commissioning groups, and for local authorities in relation to their future public health responsibilities. ACRA’s interim recommendations on the preferred distribution of public health resources were published on 14 June. The NHS formula will be published in due course. The draft mandate for the NHS Commissioning Board makes it clear that it should provide resources to secure equal access for equal need.

I thank the Secretary of State for that answer. It is becoming increasingly clear that ageing is a key driver of health care costs, yet the ACRA formula currently does not properly take that into account, to the detriment of towns such as Warrington. Can he confirm that under the new formula, ageing will be more prominent?

Yes. As my hon. Friend will know, under the existing formula, age was the single biggest factor, but what is important is that the formula accurately reflects the factors that will give rise to need for health care, so that the allocation of resources can respond directly to that need. Ensuring separately that there is an allocation to local authorities for public health, which will be measured in relation to mortality below the age of 75 in particular, will enable those resources separately to be focused on, for example, areas of greatest deprivation which give rise to the poorest health outcomes.

I am interested to hear the Secretary of State say that he understands there is a link between deprivation and health inequality, in light of the new funding arrangements that seem to indicate that councils in the north-east will receive £17 per head less for public health, whereas councils in wealthier parts of the country will receive £8 per head more.

The hon. Lady knows perfectly well that I have said many times that deprivation can give rise to inequalities in health outcomes. In particular, we are improving substantially the framework for reducing those health inequalities, because we are giving local authorities specific, dedicated resources. Let me make it clear to her that under the public health allocation formula that I outlined just a few weeks ago, no part of the country will see any reduction in its public health resources from the baseline established.