HEALTH bosses in Bury say they are facing a £60 million shortfall in funding over the next three years.

They are now fighting for a fairer deal by appealing to NHS England to end the “historic underfunding” of the town’s NHS budget.

Stuart North, chief officer of NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), believes it should be receiving an extra £20 million a year and that Bury is the most underfunded CCG in the north of England.

He claimed the shortfall could put some “planned health improvements” at risk.

NHS England’s new funding formula, which NHS Bury CCG welcomes in principle, is based on more accurate and detailed data and includes a deprivation measure specifically aimed at tackling health inequalities.

The CCG says Bury has been underfunded for many years and this is recognised in the new “target allocation” funding formula which calculates it should be receiving around 10 per cent — equating to £20 million — per year more NHS England does not plan to give Bury its target allocation immediately and instead is proposing a small increase in its allocation over the coming years.

This will result in Bury being underfunded by around £60 million by the end of March, 2016, say Bury’s health leaders.

Bury’s allocation for 2014-15 will be £215.5 million which the CCG says is £20.6 million less than it should be.

Mr North said: “The new allocations mean that Bury is now recognised as being the sixth most underfunded CCG in the country and the most underfunded in the north of England by 2.5 per cent.

“Without this additional funding, there is a risk that we can’t spend money on health improvements that were planned.”

Mr North said they plan to raise the issue with NHS England chiefs to seek a commitment to correct this “funding inequity” within the next five years.

A spokesman for NHS England said: “One of the key aims of the review of CCG funding allocations was to allocate funding based on up-to-date and detailed information taking into account the three main factors in healthcare needs: population growth, deprivation and the impact of an ageing population.

“The review identified that some areas have not had the funding per head that they need, particularly where population has grown quickly and funding has remained relatively static. The risk identified was that these areas would not be able to provide the services needed by their population if we did nothing.

“That is precisely why Bury CCG will get one of the largest increases in funding allocation in the country over the coming years — over and above inflation.”