Fears of increasing postcode lottery of NHS care

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ONE of Yorkshire’s MPs has claimed huge discrepancies in the level of healthcare will emerge with the advent of the Government’s controversial overhaul of the NHS.

The Labour MP for York Central, Hugh Bayley, who is a former health economist, said the shift to the new structure would lead to an increasing postcode lottery of NHS provision.

Mr Bayley accused the Government of failing to provide adequate funding for the NHS, and said attempts to slash expenditure in the austerity drive while ensuring healthcare is maintained are “pie in the sky”.

“The NHS always needs to be looking to be more efficient. But the new structure will mean a far patchier NHS with less treatments available as funding is cut.

“The more fragmented the system, the more chance there is of a postcode lottery for healthcare. The more organisations which are involved will mean that the NHS will be less efficient than it is now.”

Mr Bayley pointed towards significant variations in funding between the new GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups as a clear indication of how healthcare will differ. Scarborough General Hospital now falls under the remit of the York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. But while the Vale of York CCG will receive about £1,052 per head of population, the Scarborough and Ryedale CCG will be awarded £1,245 per head of population.

The new regime from April 1 will mean hospital, community and mental health care are provided by CCGs, while the NHS Commissioning Board will oversee GP practices, pharmacies and dentists as well as specialist care including cancer treatment and IVF. Health and well-being boards, run by local councils, will be charged with public health campaigns to prevent obesity and smoking and promote sexual health awareness.

The Conservative MP for Skipton and Ripon, Julian Smith, admitted the new structure will be challenging to deliver, but was adamant the reforms will bring “decision-making closer to patients”.