Thursday, May 17, 2012

Labour MP accuses Lansley of punishing non-Tory voters by diverting NHS funding to Tory heartlands.

This is a straightforward plan by Andrew Lansley to punish poorer voters by taking NHS cash from inner urban, often northern, cities and handing it to rural, wealthier often southern Tory voters.

The map above, shows in red, orange & yellow the areas that will suffer the most as a result of Andrew Lansley's plan (read his plan here) to cut NHS funding for the poor areas of England where the population do not live as long. Lansley wants to hand that cash to the wealthier often rural areas in green which will benefit from the proposal because people there live longer. 

In the past, Labour has allocated NHS funding so that a priority was given to those in poverty, but the Tories are scrapping that formula. If you click the part of the map that interests you, you will see a breakdown of the age profile and poverty of that area.Chair of Labour Left and Labour MP Grahame Morris, member of the health select committee, described the move as “cynical, politically motivated, unethical and immoral”.

He went on to say “This is the single biggest attack on reducing health inequalities and bridging the North-South divide in health outcomes.

"This is nothing other than the political gerrymandering of resources as it will channel money directly into the Tory heartlands where there is the least need and where people already live the longest.

“Put simply, Andrew Lansley wants to take money from the poorest areas suffering the highest incidences of ill-health and premature death in the North to give it to the leafy suburbs in the South where life expectancy is far higher.

“This has always been on the Tory agenda. Conservative MPs were pushing for age to outweigh deprivation as the key measure for health funding at every stage of the Health and Social Care Bill”.

North East regional director at the Royal College of Nursing, Glenn Turp, said: “Health outcomes are directly linked to poverty and inequality, and to use age as the measure rather than inequality is simply the wrong thing to do.”

England, men live nowhere near as long as people do in posh areas of the south. To view the data that helped make these maps possible, follow this link. The map clearly shows that the North East will suffer badly as will inner city London, Manchester, Leeds, York, Sheffield, Liverpool, Luton, Birmingham and much more besides.

This graph highlights the folly of Lansley's plan. It shows, for instance, that only 4% of the population in the area that Diane Abbott represents is aged 75 or over, but in the area represented say by Oliver Letwin (West Dorset) there are three times as more people who live past 75. I defy anyone to deny that the health needs of Hackney's young population that lives in much higher levels of poverty than Oliver Letwin's constituents have severe health needs that would suffer catastrophically if NHS funding was to be cut. But if one reads Andrew Lansley's words on Tuesday you will see that he categorically stated that deprivation carried no extra health needs in terms of funding and that the money should be allocated instead on age profile. For the full rankings of all Primary Care Trusts both a) in terms of who has the oldest constituents b) who has the poorest constituents, see the tables below. Poorest = rank of 1 & Oldest = rank of 1.

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