Community Hospitals

Part of Petition - Chicken Farm, Rushden, Northamptonshire – in the House of Commons at 8:44 pm on 12th March 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care) 8:44 pm, 12th March 2019

The hon. Gentleman makes an incredibly strong point. I often stand at the Dispatch Box—usually during Adjournment debates—having listened to hon. Members talk about CCG decisions that they feel may not be in the best interests of their local area, but it is up to local areas to decide. The whole point of devolving money and decision making down to CCGs is that we trust them to be able to make the best decisions in the best interests of local communities to deliver services that best meet needs and priorities. If the hon. Gentleman feels that that is not happening and if he has had the opportunity to discuss that with his CCG, it could be a good idea to take the matter up with NHS England.

CCG funding allocations are decided by an independent committee, which advises NHS England on how to target health funding in line with a funding allocation formula. This objective method of allocation supports equal opportunity of access and reduces health inequalities. That way, the decision of where taxpayers’ money goes is decided in an independent and impartial manner.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Congleton will be aware, it is down to the CCG—in this case Eastern Cheshire CCG—to decide how it spends its allocation and to determine which services are the right ones for the local community it serves. One would hope that CCGs have the necessary clinical knowledge and local expertise to make informed decisions on how to spend taxpayers’ money. To support the long-term planning of services, NHS England has already informed all CCGs about how much funding they can expect to receive between 2019-20 and 2023-24. My hon. Friend may be interested to know that Eastern Cheshire CCG’s funding will increase from £270.2 million to £311.6 million over that period—a substantial increase. I hope that she will agree that that information gives CCGs the stability to plan appropriately and establish their services for the long term.