Sheffield Council leaders have reacted with anger at plans to slash the city’s health budget by £48 million if changes to NHS funding arrangements go ahead.
The NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group’s annual budget was set at £691m last year - but last week The Star reported that a proposed shake-up of the way funds are handed out would mean that is cut by 7.6 per cent, to just over £642m.
The Department of Health is consulting on changes to how GPs’ budgets are allocated, to take into account factors such as larger numbers of pensioners in some cities.
The funding covers the cost of doctors’ surgeries, community health care and planned operations in hospital commissioned by general practitioners.
But while the budget changes mean more money for areas with large numbers of pensioners, places with younger populations, like Sheffield, are set to lose out.
Sheffield Council chief executive John Mothersole said: “The NHS is giving more money to places like Bournemouth because of the pressure of having ageing populations.
“But this money is needed here, too. It’s the equivalent of the funding settlement for local government which has seen councils in the north and cities take larger cuts.”
The council’s deputy leader, Coun Harry Harpham, accused the Government of ignoring health problems facing the city.
Health issues in Sheffield include smoking and obesity-related illnesses, as well as industrial disease.
Coun Harpham said: “This move is typical of the Tories, particularly when getting close to an election. The NHS is never going to be safe in their hands.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all that they are taking money away from the north.
“Our demographics are different from the south but we need better healthcare up here. We will definitely be making representations to the Government.”
A spokesman for NHS England said: “NHS England has a legal duty to ensure equal access for equal need and to contribute to addressing health inequalities.
“We need to consider how best we ensure funding is distributed to meet these objectives. The purpose of the review is to consider a range of options for the future approach to allocation of funds.”
Talks over the ‘fair shares’ funding formula are taking place as figures are published which show numbers of nurses fell in Yorkshire and the Humber by 1,264 between 2010 and 2013, while in London, the South East Coast, South Central and North East they rose.