Lord Howe revealed the plans in a House of Lords debate, in which he gave assurances that weighting for deprivation was unlikely to be stripped out of CCG funding allocations from next year.
The Conservative peer also pledged to ask NHS England to meet with ‘parliamentarians’ before it makes a final decision on how to change CCGs’ funding allocations at a meeting next month.
GPs have warned MPs that the rethink on CCG allocations could create multi-million pound swings in funding, forcing hospital cuts and leaving practices in deprived areas to plug the gap.
NHS England will decide on 17 December on proposals put forward by the independent Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation, which increase weighting for age and reduce it for deprivation. Critics fear this could transfer more money to CCGs in wealthier areas.
Lord Howe said: ‘At a recent health select committee hearing, Paul Baumann, the chief finance officer of NHS England, indicated that the proposed new formula would have an adjustment for a health economy’s unmet need - in other words, an adjustment for deprivation where low life expectancy suggests that people are not accessing health services.’
The government is looking at ways of making ‘the whole process of primary care commissioning more creative’, he revealed. ‘That could well involve a joint process by NHS England and CCGs.’