Slough gets less than almost everywhere else to pay for public health
The Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Health Andy Burnham called on the government to fund public healthcare on the basis of need in parliament today. He said
“The last Government matched health funding to health need and reduced the gap in male life expectancy and infant mortality, but this Government have reduced the weighting for health inequalities. The Secretary of State’s public health allocations mean that the areas he has identified today with the biggest health challenges do not get a fair share. The area with longest male life expectancy, Kensington and Chelsea, gets £133 per head, but Liverpool gets £89, Manchester £86, Luton £61, and Slough just £37. If he really wants to do something about health inequalities, should he not match his words with deeds and give more to the areas with the greatest challenges?
Mr Hunt the Secretary of State replied:
“The right hon. Gentleman really cannot have it both ways. The budget for public health is also decided by an independent body, and we gave everyone a real-terms increase and then used any remaining money to even out the differences, to get everyone as close as possible to the independent formula. But if we are talking about spending, I think the right hon. Gentleman needs to say precisely whether he stands by his assertion that Governments should cut spending on the NHS by £600 million—[Interruption.] He says he has never said it before, but actually, up till now he has always said that it was irresponsible for the Government to increase spending in real terms. We have increased it; we have increased it by £600 million. He needs to come clean on whether he still wants to cut the NHS budget.
Local MP Fiona Mactaggart said “ when I was first elected 16 years ago Slough was in the top ten towns in the country for early male deaths from heart disease. We worked hard, using funds from the government and other sources to turn that record around, with some success. It is disappointing that this government fails to recognise the level of health need in our community and is not providing sufficient funds to make a real difference. More people in Slough will die an early death as a result”