UNION leaders says patients on Wearside will suffer if the Government adopts a controversial new way of handing out money for health services.
NHS England is reviewing how funding is allocated to Clinical Commission Groups (CCGs).
The Royal College of Nursing Northern region has calculated what the 2013-14 NHS CCG per capita funding allocation would look like if the proposed formula is implemented.
The organisation says Sunderland, where life expectancy is just 58 for women, would lose £146 per person, with NHS North Durham being £14 worse off.
Professor Clare Bambra and Dr Alison Copeland at Durham University argue that, for CCGs like South Eastern Hampshire, where life expectancy is 68 for women, NHS funding will increase by £164 per person – equivalent to a 14 per cent rise.
Glenn Turp, regional director for the RCN Northern region said the move would increase north south inequality in the health system and put frontline NHS staff at a disadvantage.
“NHS England should be aiming to reduce inequalities in health outcomes, not make them worse,” said Mr Turp. “Given the size of health inequalities in this region, I believe that NHS England should actually be increasing funds to the areas with the worst outcomes.
“However, NHS England’s own data shows these proposals will do the opposite.
“They are getting rid of the funding weighting for levels of deprivation altogether, which is clearly just wrong.
“I am particularly worried that these proposed technical changes will have a huge and negative effect on funding for the NHS in the North East and Cumbria, and yet, to date they have received very little attention, either in the media or more widely by health stakeholders.”
Mr Turp added: “Some of the biggest losers in terms of NHS funding cover the same areas of the country where we have the highest incidences of chronic and long-term illness.
“Community and public health nurses are in the frontline, caring for these people day in, day out.
“And yet, they are the very same frontline providers who are going to see their funding cut.”