Health Allocation Formula: 23rd October 2012

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con)
8. What plans he has to review the health allocation formula. [124141]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Anna Soubry)
We will soon publish the final recommendations of the independent advisory committee on resource allocation. That committee reviews the approach and the formula under which money is allocated to clinical commissioning groups and local authorities so that they can fulfil their public health duties.

David Mowat
There have been two problems with how the formula has worked over the past few years. First, it has not placed enough emphasis on ageing as a criterion, and secondly the Department of Health has not implemented it properly, in so far as flat-rate increases have been given to primary care trusts, meaning that there has been no impact from changes. Both these things have worked to the detriment of Warrington. Will the Minister resolve these issues?

Anna Soubry
I am glad to assist my hon. Friend and assure him that fairness is imperative when it comes to distributing money and deciding where it goes. One reason the Government are keen to make the formula fair is our determination to reduce health inequalities, especially given the last Administration’s legacy of increased inequalities.

Jenny Chapman (Darlington) (Lab)
The former Secretary of State wanted to make age the only factor in the formula, which would have totally ignored poverty and the local cost of care—[Interruption.] He said it. It would have taken £295 per head away from the north-east. Will the Minister confirm that the local cost of care and poverty will be included in the formula allocation?
 
Anna Soubry
That was not my understanding of the former Secretary of State’s comments, but I can say that we are absolutely determined to ensure that fairness is achieved, and all the factors she mentions are important in ensuring that fairness.