Shocking figures revealed today by Lynne Featherstone MP show that health services in Haringey are missing out on hundreds of millions of pounds due to a funding formula, which gives them less money than those in neighbouring Camden and Islington.
If Haringey services received the same funding per person as those in Camden, NHS Haringey would have an extra £70 million this year. Even if Haringey received the same funding as the London-wide average, health services in the borough would benefit from an extra £25m this year.
The funding difference is caused by an old formula which assumes that residents in Haringey, who are counted as living in ‘outer London,’ have less need for health services than those in ‘inner London’. Figures on deprivation, however, indicate that this is no longer the case.
Last month Lynne Featherstone, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green and Crouch End Councillor David Winskill launched a campaign to address the historic health funding inequality in Haringey. The MP for Hornsey and Wood Green has received numerous responses from residents who have suffered the consequences of the funding shortfall.
Local resident Syd Pochin had to have his left hip resurfaced in April this year. Haringey would not fund a resurfacing, as no local hospital performed the operation. Mr Pochin was also informed that Haringey would not refer him outside of the area. It cost Mr Pochin a great deal of money to go private, which, as a pensioner, he could not really afford. Mr Pochin felt let down by Haringey and the NHS.
One resident works locally as a practice nurse, and previously as a district nurse in Tottenham. She asked Lynne to look at the numbers of nurses and training available for community nurses in Islington and Camden, and compare it to Haringey. The resident says that, while there are many unsung heroes in the borough – her and her colleagues are ‘on their knees sometimes, doing their best, against all odds here in Haringey.’
Another local resident was shopping in Islington. In the supermarket, NHS Islington had a free health check service including cholesterol and diabetes testing. When they realised that the resident was from Haringey, she was turned away and told to contact Haringey NHS. The resident did this, and was given a check which involved her blood pressure being taken – and nothing more. The resident felt cheated by the experience.
Commenting, Cllr David Winskill (Haringey Liberal Democrat Lead on Adults and Health) said:
“This campaign is all about correcting decades of underfunding of Haringey’s health services with a rebalancing of health funding. We are one of the poorest boroughs in the UK with some of the worst health outcomes. If we had enjoyed fairer funding I am convinced that we would be a healthier borough with far fewer health inequalities.”
Summing up, Lynne Featherstone MP said:
“Haringey has been sick for years, suffering from this shocking funding inequality. As a result, residents are waiting longer and are not able to access the same treatments as residents in better funded boroughs.
“The funding formula needs to change – and the Haringey Lib Dems and I will work hard to make this happen. We have already launched a petition, and we need as many local residents as possible to sign it.”