PCT funding formula based on 10-year-old data, says report

PCT funding may not accurately reflect the needs of local populations because the allocation formula use 10-year-old data, a National Audit Office report said.

The NAO report said a ‘limited range’ of data sources means that there can be a ‘substantial lag’ between the dates of data collection and the periods for which funds are allocated.

It said 10% of indicators used in PCT allocations are based entirely on data sources that are at least ten years old, usually because they are based on census data.

It said: ‘For example, in one component of the primary care element of the formula, the measure of distribution and type of GP consultations by age group is for 1999 to 2001.

‘Since this data was collected, there have been reforms to primary care, which might have changed the relative need for primary care services between age groups. As such, there is a risk that where formulae rely on data that is out of date, they will not be responsive to current needs.’

Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: ‘The current reviews are a good opportunity to ensure formulae are designed to reflect clearly prioritised objectives, to promote transparency and accountability.’

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