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Written Question (Health): General Practitioners

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether the funding formula for central Government funding of GP commissioning consortia will take account of the cost of reducing health inequalities between consortia; [52086]

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(2) what formula he plans to use to determine the distribution of funds between GP commissioning consortia. [52087]

Mr Simon Burns: It is intended that the National Health Service Commissioning Board will take over responsibility for commissioning guidelines and the allocation of resources for NHS services from the Department. It would be for the Board to decide how best to allocate resources in a way that supports the principle of securing equivalent access to NHS services relative to the prospective burden of disease and disability. The Health and Social Care Bill also includes a duty for the Board to narrow inequalities in access to healthcare, and the outcomes delivered by that healthcare.

During the transition to the Board, the Secretary of State for Health has asked the Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation (ACRA), an independent committee comprising general practitioner (GP), academics and NHS managers, to continue to oversee the formulae for the distribution of NHS resources. ACRA’s work programme will include consideration of the allocation of funds to GP consortia, and will examine the issue of unmet need. However, this work programme does not pre-empt any decisions to be made by the NHS Commissioning Board.

In addition, from 2013-14, the Department will allocate a ring-fenced public health grant to local authorities, based on relative population health. A new health premium will reward communities for the improvements in health outcomes they achieve, and incentivise action to reduce health inequalities. Disadvantaged areas will see a greater premium if they make progress, recognising that they face the greatest challenges.

Further detail on the allocations and processes will be announced in due course.

Filed in: Health Tips

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