Spending on health 'favours the South'

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The Independent Online
THE GOVERNMENT will be embarrassed by the publication today of a report recommending a huge shift of resources in the NHS from richer areas in the South to poorer areas of the North.

The report, which was commissioned by the Government, would mean a shift of resources from mainly Tory health districts to Labour- dominated areas.

The research by York University's centre for health economics shows wide disparities between regions. It recommends shifting funding for acute care to health districts in Mersey, North Western and Northern regions from Oxford, Wessex and South West Thames.

Bigger redistributions are recommended for long-stay care and mental health with the North East, South East Thames and North Western regions gaining while Oxford, Wessex and East Anglia lose.

The research team found that the existing funding formula underestimated the needs of deprived areas because it took no account of factors such as poor housing, unemployment, social class and the numbers of single parents and elderly living alone.

Health and social care services are in a state of crisis because of the Government's NHS and community care changes, according to Unison, the public service union, which yesterday staged demonstrations outside 10 Downing Street and the Department of Health, writes Rosie Waterhouse.

The union has published a report highlighting examples of deaths, neglect of patients and poor standards of care caused, it claims, by the changes and a lack of resources.