Fund­ing is the real ‘shock­ing re­al­ity’

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

SOME Gazette read­ers may re­call the suc­cess­ful de­fence of Mt Ver­non Can­cer Cen­tre that Joan Davis ac­com­plished, with my sup­port, in au­tumn 2002. The Gazette head­lines went to the heart of it with ‘Mt. Ver­non stat at­tack’ and ‘Sums wrong on hos­pi­tal’. I would like to see sim­i­lar head­lines for the way NHS Eng­land funds Hilling­don’s clin­i­cal com­mis­sion­ing group. For 2015-16, the Hilling­don Hos­pi­tals Trust got nearly half its in­come of £239m from the CCG. Less than 1% of that was from car park­ing.

In July 2015 MP Boris John­son kindly for­warded to Jeremy Hunt my deep con­cern about the lack of logic in the CCG fund­ing for­mula. As I might have ex­pected, the sec­re­tary of state passed it to Lord Prior to give Boris the brush-off. Boris got the same brush-off when he put the same ques­tion to Si­mon Stevens, of NHS Eng­land.

Not only pro­fes­sional statis­ti­cians are aware that the for­mula has no ra­tio­nal ba­sis and that its now­proven non­sense has cor­rupted the al­lo­ca­tion of NHS re­sources for decades. The ev­i­dence can be read in the pages of Health Com­mit­tee re­ports, Char­tered In­sti­tute of Pub­lic Fi­nance & Ac­coun­tancy jour­nals and Royal Sta­tis­ti­cal So­ci­ety jour­nals – more than enough to alert doc­tors at least that there is some­thing wrong in the De­part­ment of Health or NHS Eng­land.

Per­haps be­cause the for­mula is tech­ni­cally com­plex there is lit­tle de­mand for an in­de­pen­dent in­quiry, while CCGs get­ting more than the for­mula for­tu­itously says they should may be keep­ing quiet to avoid cen­sure from pay­mas­ters.

What is needed is an hon­est, ev­i­dence-based es­ti­mate of the cost of a pri­or­ity-based set of ac­tu­ally mea­sured health­care needs. As it is, we do not know whether Hilling­don CCG is even get­ting within 10% of what it re­ally should get. That is the truly shock­ing re­al­ity, rather than what the Pa­tients As­so­ci­a­tion sees as the ‘shock­ing re­al­ity’ (Gazette 4/1/2017) of Hilling­don Hos­pi­tals Trust try­ing to re­cover the less than 1% it spends on car parks from pa­tients and vis­i­tors. MERVYN STONE Hawtrey Drive Ruis­lip

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