Funding is the real ‘shocking reality’
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