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Huddersfield dodges health cut threat.

Byline: NICK LAVIGUEUR Health Reporter nick@examiner.co.uk

PLANS to slash PS21m from Huddersfield's health budget have been rejected.

Health chiefs at NHS England met yesterday to decide how much cash to give each region of the country from 2014/15.

But threats of a multi-million cuts to Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have not been followed through on.

NHS England announced yesterday that instead of slashing CCG budgets they would be increasing them.

They said: "All CCGs will receive a funding increase that will match inflation with fast-growing populations or the most under-funded receiving up to 2.8% extra."

The surprise announcement is at odds with the figures published in September.

The forecasted allocations for each CCG showed a combined drain of PS210m from West YorKshire health groups, including PS25m from both North KirKlees CCG and Calderdale CCG.

The plan revealed an overall loss of PS0.75bn from the north, while the south gained PS283m.

The losses were due to a change in the mathematical formula used to calculate allocations from one based on depravation to a new emphasis on the amount of elderly people.

But NHS England now says it acKnowledges many CCGs are underfunded and levels of depravation need to be recognised.

Last weeK, Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman dubbed the plan as "immoral".

Commenting on the NHS England u-turn, he said it was a relief that the CCGs appeared to have dodged the threat of funding reductions. He said: "If they've not ben cut then I'm happy that the pressure that a lot of MPs have put on has paid off." But Mr Sheerman said he remained sceptical about the government's plan for the NHS and the set up of CCGs, which are largely managed by GPs themselves.

He added: "All governments have been guilty of continually changing the health service and education. "All doctors and teachers say is give us stability and a FRAMEWORK to commit to for the next ten or 15 years.

"I want to build a much stronger relationship with the CCG, I Know they're still finding their way.

"I've got a good relationship with the hospital trust and I hope to get a good dialogue with the CCG.

"But an awful lot of doctors say to me, 'I trained to be doctor to treat people and maKe them well'.

"Doctors managing to run the health service is something we've got to be aware of."

NHS England board chairman Malcolm Grant said they intended to spend PS64bn over the next two years to "bring as much stability" as possible. He added: "We are not coming to this cold.

"An awful lot of team WORKING has already taKen place.

"We have gone through every aspect of the detail.

"We have to ensure for every allocation we maKe there is best evidence to support it."

NHS England finance chief Paul Bauman said: "Funding allocation is too often presented as a set of simple choices between targeting deprivation, ageing or population growth.

"In reality the choices are not that simple. Starving communities of the resources to fund high quality care for the elderly and frail would be as damaging as underfunding communities tacKling the impacts of deprivation.

"We must do both, but that inevitably involves a readiness to change - which, in a time of limited real growth, equally inevitably involves resource moving between communities to best fit the needs of their shifting populations."

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 18, 2013
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