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Tories' health plans could leave poorest worse off

8th January 2010

Writing in the New Statesman Jonn Elledge, editor of Education Investor, warns that Tory health plans would leave the poorest worst off.


A Conservative government, we are told, will increase spending on the NHS.

It has accused Labour of manipulating health cash distribution and taking it from affluent areas and pumping it into inner cities.

The Conservatives say they will reverse this – in other words, give to the rich and take from the poor.

The Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation (ACRA) is designed to ensure everyone has the same chance of getting the care they need through a complex formula taking into account age, regional cost differences and poverty.

But the Tories fear Labour has channelled funds into its own strongholds and point to stroke funding as the example with some primary care trusts spending five times as much as others on the condition via a formula that is skewed towards poverty and away from age.

It is not clear how David Cameron’s party would redress this. There is talk of an independent NHS board, though it is also pointed out that ACRA is independent.

Health economists remain baffled by the Tory criticism.

Professor Matt Sutton of the University of Manchester suggests PCT spending choices, differing costs and poverty can explain that variation in stroke spending.

While health spending will not fall under the Conservatives, it will be raised at a slower rate.

But in a climate where NHS costs are increasing faster than ‘in the real world’ that is a cut as Tory areas stand to benefit and poor Labour areas lose out.


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Wendy Cross

Wednesday 3rd February 2010 @ 15:41

Treatment should be equal in all areas, rich or poor.
It is too stereotyped to say that poor live in inner cities and rich live in rural areas - there are too many exceptions.
No area should be penalised.

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Article Information

Title: Tories' health plans could leave poorest worse off
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 13706
Date Added: 8th Jan 2010


New Statesman

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