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Julian Sturdy - Strong Voice for York Outer

Julian Sturdy

Member of Parliament for York Outer

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Julian’s Debate on Fairer NHS Funding for York and North Yorkshire

January 7, 2015

This week Julian hosted a parliamentary debate to highlight his concerns surrounding healthcare funding in York and North Yorkshire. This is an issue he has raised in Parliament on numerous occasions in the past and is especially topical at this time.

The debate centred on the current funding formula for Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). This formula is weighted towards deprivation at the expense of age and rurality, which means that CCGs such as the Vale of York receive a very low entitlement despite the area having one of the highest populations of over-85s in the North.

In the debate Julian stated that:

“The distortion within the funding formula has led to certain areas being awash with money, which in the past has sadly led to well publicised vanity healthcare projects. Whilst at the same time York and North Yorkshire have consistently struggled to balance the books, resulting in them continuing to take difficult decisions over healthcare provisions…Due to this unfair formula, the Vale of York has struggled to provide vital services to patients such as pain relief injections, and until recently IVF. In fact the Vale of York was the only health authority in the country not to offer any free IVF treatment.”

However Julian did welcome the Government’s investment into the NHS stating:

“I very much welcome the £2 billion in healthcare spending promised for this financial year by the Government in the Autumn Statement. I know that this injection of cash has led to every area seeing their budget increase ahead of inflation in the recently released allocations, and it is reasons like this why I believe this Government can stand proudly on its record when it comes to NHS funding. However this debate it not about that…it is about the fair allocation of this funding and the impact this is causing on health care delivery.”

George Freeman, the Minister responding to the debate stated:

“I will take this opportunity to pay tribute to all the north Yorkshire MPs who have worked so hard together on this issue since 2010…I know they have had one meeting, if not more, with the Secretary of State for Health, and as a group they have been an effective and forceful lobby on this important issue, which we in the Department of Health all take seriously.

As my hon. Friend will be fully aware, the key question is what overall weighting should be given to a range of factors, including age, disability, rurality and disease prevalence. As he himself acknowledged, there is no simple answer that would please everyone; this process requires the making of difficult judgments…NHS England now believes, and tells us, that it has a funding formula that sets recurrent allocations to CCGs more accurately and fairly, which is what the formula is supposed to do. However, I welcome the scrutiny that my hon. Friend and other colleagues from north Yorkshire are rightly insisting that it be put under.”

Reflecting on the Ministers response Julian stated:

“I am pleased that the Minister was sympathetic to this issue and called it a substantive concern, but I am disappointed that he did not agree to look at this extremely unsatisfactory situation again. In the debate I highlighted examples of constituents who suffer with the most awful illnesses but are not able to secure funding for much needed treatments. One constituent, who suffers with gastroparesis vomits 30 times a day giving him virtually no quality of life, while another, 9 year old Ben Foy from Strensall has narcolepsy and falls asleep as many as 20 times a day. Neither seem able to obtain funding for the treatments that their Doctors believe could really make a difference. For NHS bureaucrats, the Vale of York may just be another statistic on a list, but for my constituents the lack of fairer funding is having a major impact on their lives. The formula absolutely must be rebalanced.”


To watch the debate press play below or watch it on the Parliament Channel by clicking here.