Westminster NHS being hit with major cuts following funding review
Karen Buck unearths figures showing how funding has reduced
12 October, 2018 — By Tom Foot
WESTMINSTER’S health service has been the country’s second worst hit during the austerity years.
And official figures from the Department of Health and Social Care show the pain will get worse, with more dramatic drops in funding over the next five years.
Analysis shows that Central and West London Clinical Commission- ing Groups – bodies which make local decisions about health spending – are second and third bottom nationally in terms of the scale of cutbacks.
The funding statistics, obtained from the House of Commons Library by Labour MP Karen Buck, can be revealed after a five-year funding package was unveiled by the government.
Ms Buck said: “The latest allocation round shows there is simply not enough to protect services in all parts of the country. Yet we also have very high levels of need, not least in respect of mental health services, people living alone, people whose first language isn’t English and, of course, we also have all the health issues arising from poverty.”
Funding is being redistributed away from central London and north Westminster to other areas of the capital.
Ms Buck said: “Inner London has traditionally been well funded for the very simple reason that this is where one of the biggest concentrations of hospitals is. And the most specialist and expensive ones.
“No one argues against that fund- ing needs to be fairly distributed across the country, of course, and when times were good it was possible to increase spending in other parts of the country while continuing to fund inner London, albeit at a lower rate of increase.”
The figures show that Central and West London Clinical Commissioning Groups have lost 13 per cent and 8 per cent respectively between 2013/14 to 2020/21. The budget for 2020 has been set by a new five-year funding review.
In 2013 clinical commissioning groups replaced primary care trusts (PCTs) under the former health secretary Andrew Lansley’s controversial Health and Social Care Act NHS reforms.
Mark Easton, Accountable Office for North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups, said:
“Central London CCG receives an annual increase in its budget, in-line with all our CCGs across NW London. All CCGs are funded per head of their local population and because we are now seen to have been historically over-funded on this basis, our increase this year is much smaller than in the past and in relation to other CCGs.”
“Along with the rest of the country we have an increasing and aging population, but by collaborating with the other CCGs in NW London and working with our partners, we are able to make better use of all our resources, staff, budget and estate to provide services for our residents.”
The department for health did not respond to requests for comment on individual CCGs, but said NHS funding would “on average” increase in real terms each year. It added: “The prime minister has set out a new multi-year funding plan for the NHS, setting the real-terms growth rate for spending in return for the NHS agreeing a new long- term plan with the government later this year. The final settlement and plan will be confirmed at a future fiscal event, subject to an NHS plan that meets the tests we have set out.”