BMA leaders demand fair funding formula for NHS

Doctors have called on the government to introduce a fair funding formula for the NHS which recognises that predicted demographic changes will require additional investment.

Dr Mary Church: warning over rethink on funding formula (Photo: Wilde Fry)
Dr Mary Church: warning over rethink on funding formula (Photo: Wilde Fry)

At the 2014 BMA annual representative meeting in Harrogate, doctors' leaders called for a new formula to include weighting for inequalities and deprivation, rurality, translation costs and seasonal flexibility.

Cardiff GP Dr Om Aggarwal put forward a motion calling for a new formula, warning that the government’s efficiency savings agenda amounted to ‘cuts, cuts and cuts’.

‘Look at the funding for primary care,' he said. ‘There has been no increase. What is on the horizon? The removal of MPIG: further cuts, I’m afraid.’

There had been ongoing increases in demand for services across the NHS, he said, with no equivalent increases in funding.

‘Who suffers? Patients, not the politicians.’

BMA council members and LMCs conference representative Dr Mary Church opposed the motion. She warned that a universal formula would not solve all NHS funding problems, and that predicted changes could turn out to be wrong - causing further problems with funding, as happened with population forecasts in Scotland.

She also warned against replacing age and gender with deprivation or rurality as the most important factors in weighting for funding allocation.

Suffolk LMC’s Dr Christopher Browning, who is a CCG chairman, opposed seasonal flexibility in funding.

BMA chairman Dr Mark Porter said the important point was trying to bring back to NHS funding ‘the twin principles of equal opportunities for access and supporting the reduction of avoidable health inequalities, and this motion addresses that’.

The motion was passed in all parts.

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