Patients fear a multi-million pound health gulf is set to open between West Yorkshire and wealthier areas in the south.
Today the YEP can reveal a new report shows Leeds is to lose £10.8m of Government cash, Wakefield £14.8m and Kirklees £5.4m under changes to health spending.
At present, primary care health trusts in poorer areas receive extra cash to tackle health inequalities – currently a 15 per cent weighting. But the coalition Tory and Lib Dem Government plans to reduce that subsidy to 10 per cent.
A report commissioned by the Government analyses the impact on different parts of the country.
According to its findings, Leeds, Wakefield and Kirklees look set to lose a combined £31m, while wealthier areas which don’t benefit in the same way from the subsidy – such as Surrey and Kensington and Chelsea – will effectively gain.
The Government has confirmed it plans to cut the health inequalities weighting – but claims NHS budgets overall have been increased.
Today, patient campaigners told the YEP they feared that the poorest would be hit hardest by cutting the inequalities funding.
Maureen Idle, spokeswoman for the watchdog group Leeds Hospital Alert, told the YEP: “If the money has been given in the first place then there’s clearly an acknowledgement that it’s needed.
“It’s appalling - these areas have poor health and need more funding
not less. But it’s the same old North/South Divide and it seems as though if you live north of the Trent, you just don’t matter.”
Furious Shadow Health Secretary and Yorkshire MP John Healey, said: “These shocking figures reveal that the Tories’ plans for the NHS will make inequality worse, not better. They are reducing funding to tackle poor health in the least healthy parts of the country, and shifting it to better off, healthier areas.
“Less well-off areas in Yorkshire will be among the biggest losers – with cash transferred instead to places like Hertfordshire, Hampshire and Surrey.”
The Tories, however, claim that health budgets would have suffered more had Labour won the General Election.
A Conservative spokesman told the YEP: “This is yet another own goal from Labour. If they had won the last election, the NHS would now be being cut by £28bn across the country. Every area would have seen spending on the NHS cut – as it is in Labour-run Wales.
“This Government is increasing spending on the NHS in real terms over this parliament, and every region of the country will receive more money as a result of this investment.”
They claim that in the last year, overall health funding in Leeds went up three per cent or £37.7m, Kirklees went up three per cent or £19.6m and Wakefield went up three per cent or £18.2m.
The report was produced by Public Health Manchester for the Health Select Committee to assesses the long-term impact of the government’s changes.