Sheffield health budget faces £48m cut

Sheffield's Royall Hallamshire Hospital
Sheffield's Royall Hallamshire Hospital
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Health services in Sheffield face losing more than £48 million if changes to NHS funding arrangements go ahead, figures have revealed.

The NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group’s annual budget was set at £691m last year – but a proposed shake-up of the way funds are handed out would see that cut by 7.6 per cent, to just over £642m.

Under the current formula, more money is weighted towards deprived areas with the highest health inequalities.

But a Government committee recommended basing funding on health needs linked to age.

Health chiefs decided to postpone the measure nine months ago amid fears cash would flow from north to south, but talks over the ‘fair shares formula’ are now under way, leading NHS England to publish target figures for the first time.

Dr Tim Moorhead, chair of the Sheffield CCG, said the consultation was at a ‘very early’ stage.

He said: “Implementation of any changes is not expected until 2015/16. As it is so early in the process, we haven’t adjusted our financial plans for future years. However, the release of these figures will help us to think about what it could mean for health services in Sheffield if this funding formula was adopted.

“We are actively participating in the consultation, to feed in our concerns of the potential impact on Sheffield, and ensure a fair distribution of NHS funding across the country.”

But Charlie Carruth, regional organiser at the Unison trade union, said cuts would lead to more contracts being given to private firms.

“This would be the only way to maintain services overall. Unison would be calling on more, not less, support for Sheffield, and these formulas to be looked at again with particular emphasis on fairness for everyone.”

Barnsley stands to lose 13.5 per cent of its budget, worth £41m, while Rotherham will lose almost seven per cent, or £21m. Doncaster’s budget would be cut by 8.5 per cent, or £32m.