North-South health funding divide is ‘nonsense’, claims top Sunderland Tory

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A TORY leader on Wearside has denied claims of a North-South divide in NHS funding.

City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Sunderland Royal Hospital and Eye Infirmary, will have to save £11.8million of its £306million annual turnover as part of national cost improvement plans, according to data from the Health Service Journal.

Analysis by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) claimed that trusts in the North East and Cumbria will have to make a total of more than £100million in savings over the 2012-13 financial year, with the average saving, as a percentage of annual turnover, 5.05 per cent.

Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust has been asked to save four per cent.

However, Robert Oliver, leader of the Sunderland Conservative Group, denied claims by the RCN that funding decisions concerning the NHS were politically motivated and maintained that the Government was committed to protecting the health service.

“The claim that there is a political motive to NHS spending is nonsense with such claims of a North-South divide being based on a report and not on Government policy,” he said.

“NHS funding must always be based on clinical considerations rather than regional demands as seen in the recent announcements on children’s heart units.

Coun Oliver added: “The Government is committed to protecting the NHS from the cuts and has pledged vastly more than the 20 per cent reduction agreed by the last Labour Government.”