Published: 10/04/2003, Volume II3, No. 5850 Page 8

It will take more than two decades for primary care trust funding to be equally distributed around the country, despite promises from health secretary Alan Milburn that a greater proportion of extra NHS funding would go to deprived areas, according to new research published in HSJ.

Although new funding formulae offer substantially more money to deprived areas, the rate of convergence with better-off areas is slow.

Manchester Joint Health Unit research officer John Hacking has calculated that at the current rate of change it will take 21 years to make funding levels between PCTs converge by 90 per cent.

He points out that minimum funding increases for all PCTs have been set so high, that financial 'losers' will catch up only slowly.