Regional health body criticised by MP

A SUFFOLK MP is calling for the abolition of the region's main health authority for failing to tackle the funding crisis in the region head on.Richard Spring MP, who has been severely critical of the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority(SHA), said the authority should fight the Department of Health to change “distorted” funding patterns.

A SUFFOLK MP is calling for the abolition of the region's main health authority for failing to tackle the funding crisis in the region head on.

Richard Spring MP, who has been severely critical of the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority(SHA), said the authority should fight the Department of Health to change “distorted” funding patterns.

In a letter to bosses, Mr Spring said it was absurd that the SHA could not argue the funding case while overseeing the region's health care services, which have mounting financial difficulties.

“They accept the funding formula skews funding against west Suffolk,” said Mr Spring. “If you are then charged with a recovery plan it seems crucial to change that formula.


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“It is something they should have done 18 months ago by going to the Department of Health. While all the time patients and staff in the NHS in Suffolk are suffering.

“I want them to carry out their statutory obligation and if they can't tell the Department of Health there is a structural problem and come to some kind of a resolution, what are they for?”

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A spokesman for the SHA said: “The SHA will alert the Department of Health about local healthcare issues across Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

“However, it is not the role of the SHA to campaign for more funding for any part of our local NHS; funding decisions are made by ministers.

“For example, if there is a shortage of dentists in an area we tell the Department of Health but we won't ask for more money for dentists.

“We are a post box and advisory which ensures local health organisations deliver affordable and effective health care and we over see and support those organisations. And we have robust channels of communication with the Department of Health including the ministerial briefing units.”

In a letter to the SHA chairman, Keith Pearson, Mr Spring said the SHA's “record in serving the needs of the people of Suffolk, by never arguing the funding case” called into question its existence.

But Mr Pearson said the SHA had taken the financial problems in Suffolk “very seriously”.

He stressed: “We have provided substantial support, from our team and external sources, to help NHS bodies to develop the local solutions that are needed to provide sustained financial health.

“It is not our role to campaign for more funding. We have, however, sought and secured substantial sums of brokerage which have brought Suffolk bodies the time they need to properly plan and implement recovery plans, and will continue to support local management in delivering the necessary modernisation that underpins these plans.”

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