Primary care trusts will receive the same allocation in 2012-13 as this year, plus an across the board 2.8 per cent increase, the Department of Health has announced.
According to notes accompanying next year’s revenue allocations, the weighted capitation formula has been “frozen in 2012-13, and all PCTs will receive the same growth rate in recurrent allocations of 3 per cent”.
The 3 per cent is broken down into uniform growth of 2.8 per cent in the recurrent allocation for PCTs plus an additional allocation of £150m specifically for “reablement”.
As a result, no adjustment is being made to correct historic over or under-funding. Under-funded PCTs will receive a smaller increase than 2011-12, while over-funded areas will receive even more.
For example Stoke on Trent, North East Essex and North Somerset PCTs all received increases of 4.2 per cent last year, when the DH identified them as being underfunded by 7.2 per cent, 6.8 per cent and 8.9 per cent respectively.
Meanwhile, 144 PCTs will have bigger percentage increases than this year, including 50 which received the smallest possible increase of 2 per cent.
Among them are Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham PCTs, which the DH said last year were over-funded to the tune of more than 20 per cent.
The 2.8 per cent is however marginally higher than the uplift mentioned in the NHS Operating Framework last month, which stated that “PCT allocations in 2012-13 will grow by at least two and a half per cent”.
The 2.8 per cent represents an increase of £2.5bn, bringing the total investment in local NHS services for 2012-13 to £91.6bn. It is a 0.1 per cent increase in real terms, after 2.7 per cent inflation is taken into account. The government has committed to increasing NHS spending in real terms in each year of the Parliament.
Recurrent and non recurrent allocations for primary dental care, general ophthalmic services, pharmaceutical services and support for joint working between health and social care will also increase by 2.8 per cent nationally, equivalent to £4.1bn in total.
Announcing the allocations, health secretary Andrew Lansley, said: “The extra investment gives primary care trusts a strong platform to sustain and improve NHS services for patients. But despite this extra spending, the NHS must still strive to get the best value out of every penny it spends to meet rising demand and continue to improve results for patients.”
PCT Network director David Stout said the weighted allocation freeze plus flat 2.8 per cent increase was “pretty much what we expected”, given the move to the new system of allocation for clinical commissioning groups in 2013-14.
He said: “If anyone was over capitation they will be more pleased, those under capitation will be less pleased.”
But he said there would be nowhere in the country that PCTs would be “completely comfortable”, given the pressures to wipe historical debt ahead of the transfer to CCGs and meet quality, innovation, productivity and prevention targets.
He added: “There are no real surprises here, but in areas under great pressure, this confirms they are under great pressure.”