Corby healthcare is ‘most under-funded in England’

Public accounts committee chairman Margaret Hodge MP
Public accounts committee chairman Margaret Hodge MP

Corby has the worst-funded health group in the country, an influential House of Commons committee has said.

The town’s clinical commissioning group (CCG), which takes charge of healthcare in the area, is underfunded to the tune of £137 per person.

By contrast, parts of London get hundreds of pounds per person above their fair share, the public accounts committee has found.

The figures have been labelled “shocking” by Corby and East Northants MP Andy Sawford, who pointed out a National Audit Office report last year also indicated Corby was the least well-funded part of England.

Mr Sawford added: “Corby Healthcare and our local health workers are doing a good job of managing with limited funds but services could be much better if Corby had the funds that NHS England says the area needs.

“The problem is even more acute than the National Audit Office suggests because the allocation decisions do not take account of population growth. Corby is a fast growing town with the highest birth rate in England.”

Last month, Corby and Nene CCGs got two of the biggest boosts to their funding of any health group in England.

The funding for both Corby and Nene CCGs – the latter of which covers the rest of Northamptonshire – was welcomed by many, including Kettering MP Philip Hollobone, who said the above-average boost was thanks in part to the lobbying of county MPs.

But critics said the cash was nowhere near enough to close the gap with demand – particularly in Corby.

Mr Sawford said: “Now that the truth has been laid bare by the Public Accounts Committee, I am calling on the Government to go back and rethink their allocations for next year and fund Corby’s health services properly.

“We are not asking for a rebate for underfunding in previous years, although that would be welcome, but it is a basic question of fairness that Corby should be funded according to needs.”

Public accouncts committee chairman Margaret Hodge MP said: “One of the Government’s key policy objectives in allocating health funding is equal access for equal need.

“Yet we found huge variations in funding for CCGs – from £137 per person below their fair share of available funding in Corby to £361 per person above their fair share in West London.

“We recognise that in moving only gradually from current funding levels the Department’s and NHS England’s priority has been to maintain the stability of local health economies, but this very slow pace of change puts at risk the financial sustainability of those most under-funded.”

Mrs Hodge also said that in many places target funding allocations could be unreliable as they are based on estimates from GP registration numbers, which are not always an accurate indication of an area’s population.

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