WIGAN patients are being denied vital healthcare funding because of a postcode lottery, it has been claimed.
New figures reveal that cash support for GP surgeries across the borough is among the lowest in the country.
This report highlights the inherent unfairness of health funding at a time when many people in Wigan struggle to get a GP appointmentMP Lisa Nandy
Data released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre shows that the average funding per registered patient in Wigan is £116.44, just a penny above the Greater Manchester average - compared with £136 nationally.
The average payment per weighted patient in Wigan - where the figures are adjusted for age/deprivation - is £108.95, compared to a Greater Manchester average of £110.60.
Wigan MP Lisa Nandy said: “This report highlights the inherent unfairness of health funding at a time when many people in Wigan struggle to get a GP appointment.
“We have one of the highest rates of industrial illness in the country and yet our GPs receive less funding than the national average.
“A future Labour Government will fund an extra 8,000 GPs to make sure people in Wigan can get the help they need, when they need it.”
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the British Medical Association’s GPs committee chairman, agreed: “Many GP practices are struggling to cope with the needs of their aging populations on shrinking resources that is made worse by staff shortages and the wider transfer of more unresourced work from hospitals into the community.
“Politicians and NHS managers now need to focus their energy on ensuring overstretched and underfunded GP services get the resources they need to deliver enough appointments and services to patients.”
On average, £136 was paid per registered patient in England in 2013/14 - amounting to more than £7.6bn being paid to 8,060 general practice providers. The payments were aimed at covering a range of costs such as premises, staffing costs and services to patients.
A spokesman for Wigan’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) confirmed that the level of funding for local GP Practices was not a responsibility of the CCG, but of NHS England.
Explaining how the funds are calculated, a spokesman for NHS England said: “Funding for GP practices is calculated using the Carr-Hill formula to ensure a standard approach across the country. The formula takes into consideration populations to calculate the total funding each practice receives, and reflects a range of factors such as patient demographics, mortality rates and rurality.”
A Department of Health spokesman added: “GPs do a vital job and are at the centre of our plans to move more care out of hospital into the community.”