MP calls for emergency health funding for Cambridgeshire in Westminster debate
- Credit: PA
South Cambs’ MP has led a Westminster Hall debate today calling for urgent additional health funding for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Heidi Allen wanted to raise awareness of what has been described as a "chronic funding shortfall" which affects health services provided by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and the impact this has on local residents and patients.
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG is the third lowest funded CCG in England, receiving significantly less funding per head of population than all neighbouring counties.
While the formula seeks to distribute funding in a fair way according to need, critics say it has typically been unable to respond quickly to the demands of a rapidly growing local population - with Cambridgeshire's growth in the past five years a prime example.
Mrs Allen highlighted the impact of this shortfall on local services - citing delays, treatment refusals and long wait times as the consequence of the allocation shortfall.
She said: "The CCG has to reduce its spend outside of hospitals by £33m this year - that means significant cuts to community care. Every single one of our major out-of-hospital care services is now under review."
Speaking during the debate, both Mrs Allen and Daniel Zeichner - MP for Cambridge - challenged the health and social care minister on the impact of historical underfunding.
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In response, minister Stephen Hammond said: "Historically, my honourable friends are right to point out that their CCG has seen funding that is not equivalent to local areas, and the historic funding disparity is now being improved and moving back towards the targets for CCGs over the next two or three years."
Mrs Allen pressed the minister for "a commitment to an early review to the funding allocation and immediate emergency extra funding", to which he replied: "There has been a number of difficult, historic and inter-locking factors facing the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG. NHS England is committed to bringing all CCGs up to target as soon as possible."
Afterwards Mr Hammond agreed to meet with Mrs Allen and the CCG's chief executive Jan Thomas to go through the financials in more detail.
A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG welcomed news of the debate and said: "We would like to thank MP Heidi Allen for raising the challenges that we face in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
"It is vital we secure appropriate health funding to allow us to deliver good quality care to the people of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough."