Milton Keynes is growing so fast that the health service’s funding system cannot keep up, a committee has heard.
Now city politicians have united with NHS leaders to campaign for a better way for central government to slice up the spending pie.
Joe Harrison, chief executive of Milton Keynes University Hospital, told a meeting of the MK Health and Wellbeing Board on Wednesday, February 6, that the city had been hit by a funding ‘double whammy’.
“On a per head of population basis, we do not receive the right amount of money,” said Mr Harrison. “The NHS tends to be two years behind in its population figures.”
This is compounded by the fact that MK’s population is growing, he said.
Richard Alsop, the chief operating officer of MK Clinical Commissioning Group, told the Board that the NHS has moved to making funding plans over five years. “If you do not get it right in the first year, then there is the potential to put into difficulty, ” he said.
According to figures on the NHS England website, Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is set to receive a total of around £429million this financial year, rising to around £526million in 2022-23. It then uses that funding to buy services for patients from GPs and hospitals.
Dr Nicola Smith, the Board’s vice-chair, said: “We are getting more money but we are falling further behind.” She said that the CCG and the NHS could use their collective strength to lobby for a change in funding arrangements.
MK Lib Dem leader, Cllr Douglas McCall said that if the government is using old data at a time when Milton Keynes is projected to take its share of one million new homes as part of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, then “that’s an argument to be had.”
But he added that pressure had to be made “higher up the chain” or demands risked being ignored.
And Cllr Alex Walker, who leads the Conservative group on MK Council, said there was an opportunity for the board and MPs to work together.
“As a part of the growth deal, discussions are taking place. This gives a ‘big chance’ to look at the health system in Milton Keynes,” he said.