SOUTH Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck has blasted a Government decision not to provide the North East’s NHS Trusts with extra financial support this winter.
In a ministerial statement yesterday, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt outlined how £250m of funding to help hospitals cope with winter pressures will be allocated to 53 NHS Trusts across England – but not a penny will be spent in the North East.
Mr Hunt said the cash will be distributed to ‘areas which need it the most’ during 2013-14.
But many are questioning how the region’s hospitals – including South Tyneside District Hospital, which had to cancel non-essential operations earlier this year due to a 22 per cent rise in A&E admissions – won’t receive any share of the money pot, which has been allocated in accordance with Monitor, NHS England, and the NHS Trust Development Agency.
Mrs Lewell-Buck says she’s disappointed by the lack of funding.
She said: “I am very disappointed that the Government has neglected A&E departments in the North East.
“South Tyneside District Hospital would have benefited from a cash injection, especially as winter is approaching and A&E patient numbers traditionally rise.
“Last year, 2,500 patients in the region had to wait for more than four hours in A&E, and staff are reporting that targets are getting even harder to meet.
“Our hospitals desperately need more help if patient care is not going to suffer, but today’s announcement shows the Government is happy to look the other way.”
In total, £55m has been allocated to Trusts in London, £57m to areas in the South, £86m will be given to the Midlands and East combined and £21m will be handed to Trusts in the North West and Yorkshire combined.
Mr Hunt said: “It is important to provide the NHS with greater support during the winter period, particularly at a time when the scale of the challenge facing the NHS and wider health and care system is becoming increasingly clear.
“It is essential that even when demand is at its highest patients get the excellent support they need and rightly expect.”