by JOSEPH WATTS, Political editor
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
NHS services in Norfolk could be boosted from next year after health secretary Andrew Lansley said future national funding allocations would take account of how rural an area is.
Currently the government funding formula which determines how much money each health authority around the country receives takes no account of “rurality”.
Yet there can be extra costs connected with providing services to patients in remote areas which make running the NHS in places like Norfolk more expensive.
Mr Lansley told the Eastern Daily Press that those extra costs would now be taken account of in the new funding formula the government is shaping to determine allocations from 2013/14 onwards.
He said: “Rurality is one of the issues that in the past the NHS, with the exception of money allocated to ambulance trusts, has taken no account of.
“But if you actually want to provide ‘equal access for equal need’ you do need to take account of the geography of the services in the area you are talking about.
“So things like market forces and labour market pressures, rurality and so on should form part of the overall formula for the allocation of resources.”
He made his comments as he prepared to make a series of announcements in Parliament today, including a report on the affects of a new NHS constitution enshrining patient rights and a draft ‘mandate’ setting out principles on commissioning services.
Due to new rules the coalition brought in, the health secretary is now also bound to report to Parliament on the state of the NHS annually; something Mr Lansley will seek to do for the first time today.