Health cash lottery highlighted

A POSTCODE lottery means less money was spent in Suffolk on treating some medical problems than in other parts of the country, it emerged today.Data from the King's Fund revealed the massive differences in health spending across the UK.

A POSTCODE lottery means less money was spent in Suffolk on treating some medical problems than in other parts of the country, it emerged today.

Data from the King's Fund revealed the massive differences in health spending across the UK.

Suffolk Primary Care Trust (PCT) was ranked in the middle of tables of PCTs' spending for tackling cancer and mental health problems, and towards the top when it came to circulatory problems.

Per head of the population Suffolk spent £81 on cancer and tumours, £168 on mental health, and £139 on circulatory problems.


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In contrast Knowsley PCT spent £118 per head on cancer and Ealing PCT £47. Islington PCT spent £332 on mental health per head and East Riding of Yorkshire PCT spent £114.

For circulatory diseases Middlesbrough PCT spent £167 per head and Southwark PCT spent £76.

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The King's Fund's chief economist, professor John Appleby, said: “Even when local need and other legitimate reasons for variations in spending are taken into account, PCTs continue to spend varying amounts on cancer, coronary heart disease, mental health and a range of other diseases.

“It does raise questions about the consistency of the decisions PCTs make about how much they spend on different diseases.”

Julian Herbert, deputy chief executive at NHS Suffolk, the county's primary care trust, said: “Information from the King's Fund is interesting, but how much we spend compared to others is only one of a number of elements that we look at when determining where investment in health services should be made.

“Just as important are the specific needs of the population of Suffolk, what local clinicians, patients and partners say as well as using national NHS guidelines to provide services for Suffolk.

“For example we have set local priorities to invest in improving primary mental health services, palliative care for cancer services and preventative care to help reduce instances of heart disease in the county.”

Are you concerned about lack of investment in Suffolk's healthcare? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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