The ‘target’ resource levels favour the areas that already have the best health outcomes, basic funding increases on “need as currently met” rather than on “unmet need”, the national NHS body said.
The formula, which NHS England has held back from applying this year, would mean relative cuts in funding for London and the North of England.
New documents published by NHS England argue that it will be “extremely challenging” to redistribute CCG funding in a climate of austerity.
Both uniform growth and “a target model” have dangers, the commissioning body warned, and “detailed modelling of risks” was needed.
David Buck, Senior Fellow in Public Health and Inequalities at the King’s Fund, said: “No secretary of state ever had the balls to consider reducing real allocations to any CCG or primary care trust, because it’s politically difficult. But if NHS England wanted to, that decision is now an operational one rather than a political one.”
NHS England has written to CCGs, explaining that it has not implemented the Government’s formula because it was “concerned that while the formula accurately predicts need as currently met, it did not capture unmet need,” and it “would have resulted in higher allocations to areas with better health outcomes.”
The Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation’s formula would mean that in relative terms, the North of England and London lost funding while the south of England, the Midlands and the East gained.
Redistribution within regions would favour relatively wealthy areas – for example, East Anglia would gain funding except in Great Yarmouth and Waveney, while areas targeted for funding increases relative to their regions include Cheshire; Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead; and Fareham and Gosport.