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Question on NHS funding to a special meeting of Spelthorne BC Performance Management and Review Committee

September 28, 2006 10:03 PM

Caroline Nichols has challenged the local NHS to explain what they are doing to address the funding shortfall at Ashford and St Peter's. Here is her question and the answer in full.

The meeting of Spelthorne Borough Council with representatives from the Primary Care Trust (PCT) and Ashford and St Peter's hospital was held in public and supplementary questions (submitted in advance) were allowed from the audience. Now that the government has abolished Community Health Councils, Spelthorne BC has an obligation to monitor local health services.

Although the question was put in writing in advance of the meeting on 31st July, an answer was not received until mid-September.


As a former member of NW Surrey Community Health Council I am aware that North Surrey has overspent - particularly in the area of acute medicine - for more than a decade. This overspending predates the merger of the two hospitals. It was the considered view of NWS CHC that the persistent financial crisis was NOT due to overspending but to government under-funding (through its application of the York Formula). In the CHCs experience the funding formula consistently underestimated those healthcare needs of the very old which are irrespective of social class, thereby penalising areas like Surrey where there numbers are increasing rapidly.

What challenge has been made by the PCT to the Department of Health's funding allocation? Is Ashford and St Peter's happy with the portion of that allocation which it receives from the PCT? What consequence for funding ASP is expected as a result of the reconfiguration of the PCTs?


Some work was undertaken in 2003 regarding the funding formula and, prompted by concern from the local Community Health Council, the PCT took this up with the Department of Health. However, after further analysis the conclusion was taken that the funding was in line with the formula and the Department of Health did not believe that any adjustments needed to be made. Under the new Payments by Results process, Ashford and St Peter's will get paid for the work that they do.


This response is wholly inadequate and fails to address the real problems we are all experiencing. We believe that Ashford and St Peter's has been consistently under-funded for many years and we will continue to campaign for this to be addressed.