Fury as Bucks patients get ‘half’ neighbour’s funding

Martin Tett, leader of Bucks County Council
Martin Tett, leader of Bucks County Council

HOSPITAL patients in Bucks are to be sold short by a shocking lack of funding, the boss at County Hall has claimed.

On Monday, Councillor Martin Tett, leader at Bucks County Council, said he was furious that a shake-up will mean the authority receives just £15 per resident to take on new responsibilities.

Neighbouring Oxfordshire will get twice that in government grants when local authorities take over responsibility for public health services next year.

Bosses were also urged to grill hospital chiefs to make sure they were ready for a surge in Aylesbury’s population.

At a cabinet meeting, Mr Tett told fellow members: “The idea that somehow we can have the lowest per capita funding of £15 per head, when Oxfordshire gets over £30 is completely irrational.

“We’ll make our views known to the government.”

Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) are to be scrapped, under the Government’s Health and Social Care bill.

After the meeting, Mr Tett said: “What they’ve done is looked at the money spent in the past financial year and based their figures on that.

“For us, that was a bad baseline to use because a lot of people were on maternity leave, and the PCT had to make sharp funding cuts.

“We’re not even sure we can maintain the current level of service.”

He said he had written to the county’s MPs, and would be lobbying the Government to make sure the matter is addressed.

During Monday’s meeting, Councillor Freda Roberts, Liberal Democrat, said she was alarmed at the number of new homes set to go up in the Vale and the impact this could have on health services.

She said: “I’m wondering if enough thought has been given to the number of properties being built in Aylesbury and the surrounding area.

“There’s a large amount of houses being produced.”

And Mrs Roberts continued: “It’s very worrying when we know these houses are coming, and they’re going to be full of people.

“Having been a nurse myself, I’m conscious of the shortcomings there could be.”

Chris Williams, County Hall’s chief executive, said: “We are working with our colleagues in health to make sure they know the current plans for housing in Aylesbury.”

He said Aylesbury Vale District Council is currently working on a core strategy, which will decide how many more homes are needed, and where they would go.

But Mr Williams added that there are a number of ‘hostile applications’ currently being considered, as developers put forward sites for housing.

Mr Tett warned that changes to Government planning guidelines could have an impact, which challenges lying ahead.

He said: “It will allow developers to come forwards with schemes that aren’t planned by the local authority that could complicate things, not only health. There are some quite serious times ahead.”

Councillor Patricia Birchley said she had asked NHS bosses about ‘futureproofing’ Stoke Mandeville Hospital.