'Bury should get fair share of NHS cash', says MP

Bury Times: MP Ivan Lewis MP Ivan Lewis

A BURY MP has called on the government to ensure that the borough gets its fair share of NHS funding and is not “short changed”.

Ivan Lewis, MP for Bury South, has written a letter to the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to demand an urgent meeting to address Bury’s health funding gap.

His appeal comes after it was revealed that the town faces a £60 million shortfall in NHS funding during the next three years.

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

NHS England has proposed making rises to Bury CCG’s budget of 3.41 per cent in 2014-15 and 3.11 per cent for the year 2015-16, but Mr Lewis says this is not enough.

He said: “It is outrageous that although it is accepted that Bury CCG is underfunded to the tune of £20m per annum, the government is not willing to do anything about it to redress the balance immediately. This will not only compromise people’s health and wellbeing but demonstrates again that Bury’s taxpayers are being short changed.

“Not only is the borough’s council losing millions of pounds disproportionately in comparison to its southern counterparts, its CCG is one of the worst funded in the country.

“It’s time this Tory-led government gave Bury a fair deal.”

But Conservative Bury North MP David Nuttall pointed out that funding has increased this year.

He said: “This increase in funding is more than any other CCG in the North West apart from Warrington.

“An increase of over three per cent for next year has already been announced too.

“Of course I want to see the best deal for Bury and I have met with the chairman of the Bury CCG to discuss their concerns.”

NHS England has introduced a new funding formula, which is based on more accurate and detailed data, and includes a deprivation measure specifically aimed at tackling health inequalities.

Bury CCG says its historical underfunding is recognised in the “target allocation” funding formula, which calculates it should be receiving around 10 per cent — equating to £20 million — per year more.

By 2015-16, it is anticipated that Bury will have an allocation of £1,112 per person, against a “target allocation” of £1,217 per person.

In his letter, Mr Lewis also says there is already evidence of health ‘rationing’ in Bury, with access to cataract surgery, tonsillectomy and myringotomy being restricted by the CCG.

James Frith, Labour’s candidate for Bury North at next year’s general election, added: “This unfair funding situation for Bury’s CCG means services including fertility treatment, dementia, child and adolescent mental health, and access to psychological therapies are being put under threat.”

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