Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has pledged to force a vote in Parliament over plans to redistribute clinical commissioning group funding on the basis of age.
Mr Burnham insisted that the proposals were “immoral” and “pernicious” because they would see affluent areas with good health outcomes gaining extra funding at the expense of deprived communities with much lower healthy life expectancy.
The plans, which are being considered by NHS England, represented a “raid on the NHS funding of communities with the lowest life expectancy,” Mr Burnham said.
In a speech to the National Children and Adult Services Conference in Harrogate, he urged delegates to lobby their MPs to back the party when it challenged the plan in Parliament “later this year”, HSJ’s sister title Local Government Chronicle reports.
“But more than that, anyone who cares about inequalities in our country should stand together against this outrageous raid,” he said.
NHS England has not yet decided whether and how to implement the formula, which would see funding redistributed with a heavier weighting on the age of the population.
The vote in Parliament would be a major test for NHS England, which under the coalition’s health reforms has been given the freedom to make decisions about allocations as an operational, rather than a political, matter.
Also in his speech, Mr Burnham said he had heard a suggestion that the £335m budget announced by the Treasury to help councils prepare for the Dilnot social care reforms would come from top-slicing the local government settlement.
He also warned that any politician criticising councils over 15-minute home care visits should “recognise that we in Westminster have let social care become a malnourished, minimum wage business.”