MP set to tackle health minister

Health dispute: Left, health secretary Jeremy Hunt and MP for Washington and Sunderland West, Sharon Hodgson.
Health dispute: Left, health secretary Jeremy Hunt and MP for Washington and Sunderland West, Sharon Hodgson.
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A CITY MP has pledged to tackle health secretary Jeremy Hunt tomorrow over funding plans which she says will strip Sunderland doctors of vital funding.

Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson has already written to Mr Hunt after medical groups raised the alarm over funding reforms which could see the amount that Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) receives from central government cut by £146 per head – the biggest loss in the region.

The Royal College of Nursing Northern region also spoke out about the plans, after the North East and Cumbria Regional Local Medical Committee expressed fears that Sunderland CCG would lose £42million.

The funding fears have been highlighted due to planned changes to the way health funding is distributed, which is being consulted on by the Department of Health.

Mrs Hodgson argues the new proposed system would ignore levels of deprivation and health inequalities in areas such as Sunderland.

This will therefore see doctors on Wearside lose millions of pounds, while more affluent counties in the South East would receive more funding.

Sunderland’s estimated loss of £146 per person compares to a loss of £14 in North Durham and £22 in Northumberland, while CCGs in other areas of the country are likely to see an increase in funding.

Mrs Hodgson said: “It’s shocking that the Government would be seriously considering a formula that would see Sunderland people lose out so much, even compared to others in the North East, let alone those in leafy shires.

“A lot of progress has been made in the last decade, but people in Sunderland are still more likely to die early from, for example, cancer or heart disease than in other areas, so it’s hard to understand how anyone could think taking funding away from our doctors would be a good idea. Unless ministers perform a quick U-turn they’ll yet again be widening the North-South divide when it comes to health and quality of life.”

Mrs Hodgson says she will press Mr Hunt when he comes to the House of Commons to answer questions.