The Department of Health has unveiled dramatic reforms to primary care trust funding allocations.

Health secretary Alan Johnson announced today that PCTs would receive £164bn funding for 2009-10 and 2010-11, equating to an average of £1,612 per person by 2010-11.

The DH also revealed that this year’s allocations will be made using a new “more technically robust formula”, which is the outcome of an independent review by the Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation.

The proportion of funding controlled by PCTs will also increase, with more than 80 per cent of the total NHS budget now allocated directly.

A separate formula for health inequalities will target areas with the worst health outcomes.

Operating framework

The announcement comes alongside publication of the operating framework for 2009-10, which includes five top priorities: improving cleanliness and tackling healthcare associated infections; improving access in primary and secondary care; a focus on cancer, stroke and children’s health; improving patient experience and staff satisfaction; and preparing for possible emergencies such as pandemic flu.

PCTs will also be expected to set out additional evidence based local targets.

Health secretary Alan Johnson said the government was to sustain its investment in the health service over the next two years as the NHS continued to “deliver significant improvements against key priorities”. But he warned: “During these tougher economic times the NHS, along with the rest of the public sector, will have to make its contribution to delivering greater efficiency.”

For in depth coverage of the operating framework and PCT allocations, see HSJ on Thursday.