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Hopes grow over NHS postcode lottery
HOPES are growing that the Government will finally tackle York and North Yorkshire’s NHS postcode lottery and provide millions more in funding.
York Central Labour MP Hugh Bayley and three Tory MPs from the area met Health Minister Dan Poulter to protest at comparatively poor levels of funding for health services – and Mr Bayley said they met with a sympathetic response.
Now he and the other MPs – York Outer’s Julian Sturdy, Thirsk and Malton’s Anne McIntosh and Harrogate and Knaresborough’s Andrew Jones –plan to write to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to press for the funding formula to be altered.
Mr Bayley said the existing formula penalised the area in several ways, including failing to take account of the extra costs of providing healthcare in a rural county and with an extra large elderly population, which affected the Vale of York particularly badly, and also of the costs of the greater levels of deprivation in parts of urban York.
He said: “These are early days, but I am hopeful that the formula could be changed as soon as next year.”
He said that while he opposed overall funding levels for the NHS by the coalition Government, he was prepared to work with Conservative MPs from North Yorkshire to press for a fairer deal for the region.
Mr Sturdy said the minister acknowledged the funding formula needed to change, and said now was the right time to act as the formula was under review. The key thing is to get the right changes made, such as the need for it to take account of the ageing population and the additional costs of healthcae in a rural area,” he said.
He added that as well as writing to Mr Hunt, he and the other MPs would be pressing for a meeting with Malcolm Grant, the head of NHS England, which was carrying out the review.
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