Healthcare missing out on £13m a year


- Credit: Archant

THERE’S a £50million cash pot with North Somerset’s name on it – but the Government is refusing to hand it over.


- Credit: Archant

This staggering sum was earmarked by Westminster for our local economy, as part of vital funding for health care, education, policing and council services.

It is the amount North Somerset needs to run vital services according to the Government’s own calculations – yet the money has never been handed over.

Last year the Government predicted we would need £50million more to keep these crucial services running, but Westminster did not give us the cash.

Meanwhile, police, council, schools and health services are forced to cut budgets and slash services which are key to our community.

When we launched the campaign we revealed how our police force lost out on £11million last year, and we have also exposed the education funding shortfall – which is at least £4million.

Now we are shining a spotlight on the funding available for North Somerset’s healthcare, which missed out on £13million this year alone.

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In the next edition of the Times we will uncover how the council missed out on a huge £22million last year.

We have created a petition which will be delivered to Downing Street, but to do so we need your help. It’s time to do what is right for North Somerset – sign our paper petition and send it to Fairer Funding, North Somerset Times 32 Waterloo Street, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, BS23 1LW.

You can also sign our online petition here.

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DESPITE a number of changes to the healthcare system in recent years, one thing has remained consistent, the lack of funding available to North Somerset – leading to a current shortfall of £12.9million.

From 1981, the way health has been funded has remained largely unchanged until very recently.

GPs and pharmacy groups will tell you what used to happen is when North Somerset was part of Avon, Bristol absorbed most of the cash. Patients were sent to the Bristol hospitals but the experts would never venture down here.

The health funding formula is the current funding mechanism and essentially it puts the demographic of an area and the resources needed into a complex algorithm and out comes the cash.

But as the table shows, even though the numbers have been altered twice, North Somerset is always given less than the Government’s own formula says we should have.

Two questions arose from this: was the funding formula right and why is the amount North Somerset receives way off what the funding allocation should be?

After realising the faults, the Government set about trying to narrow the gap and this year has handed control of distributing cash to NHS England – so it is hoped the funding will even out.

But North Somerset still has a shortfall of £12.9million, a 5.1 per cent gap from what it should get.

The new system, introduced in the past 12 months, is designed to prevent the Government from playing political favourites.

North Somerset MP Dr Liam Fox, who is supporting our campaign, said: “We are still being punished for the failures of Avon with its catastrophic financial management, which is why we don’t want a greater Bristol.

“Our health needs, with an increasing elderly population, need to be fairly funded.

“Try telling older people or children that their health spending should be below average just because they live in a generally affluent area. It’s a nonsense.”

Because money is still very tight, a date has not yet been given for when everything will be evened-out, meaning some areas will remain over-funded, and some will continue to be under-funded.

So some places will stand still while we catch up, to avoid taking money off other authorities.

Here at the Times we want to make sure the money owed to North Somerset is handed over, so more frontline services can be bought for the town.