NHS cuts are bad for your health

Reporter: Richard Hooton
Date published: 01 August 2011

MILLIONS of pounds is going to be cut from health services in Oldham due to a shift in NHS cash, claim Labour.

Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams slammed the Government for “shifting” funding to healthier areas of the country.

But Health Secretary Andrew Lansley called Labour’s claims “nonsense” and insisted that all areas are getting a budget increase.

A previously unpublished report reveals the area’s primary care trust will lose £8.2million — a 2 per cent reduction.

The local Labour MP said: “This is yet more evidence that the Tory-led Government’s NHS plans are bad for people in the North-West. These shocking figures reveal that the Tories will make inequality worse, not better. They are reducing funding to tackle poor health in places like my constituency and shifting it to better off, healthier areas. The Tory plans will hit services that help people stop smoking, promote healthy eating and exercise, and raise awareness about the risks of sexually-transmitted diseases.

“They will make it harder to prevent the big killers like heart disease and cancer and increase the costs of poor health for everyone in the long run.”

The figures are due to a change in the way primary care trusts are allocated resources and the weighting given to “health inequalities”.

Manchester will lose £41.7million, according to the report and near-by Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale will see a 1.7 per cent reduction — equating to a shave of 7.5million.

For years, areas which have higher incidences of poor health have been given a higher funding but this weighting is set to be reduced.

Less well-off areas, like Oldham are among the biggest losers, according to to the opposition party, with cash transferred instead to areas like Hertfordshire, Hampshire and Surrey.

Mr Lansley said figures showed NHS spending was going up in real terms across England as a whole, and that Labour would not have matched that commitment if it had won the election.

“We’re not taking money away from any parts of England, we’re increasing the budget for the health service in England,” he added.

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