Waiting for answers over Enfield’s health funding

A nurse treats a patient (credit NHS England)
Enfield receives £26 per head less to spend on healthcare than the London average (credit NHS England)

Enfield Over 50s Forum president Monty Meth makes a plea for more local health funding

Enfield borough will this year receive £47 per head of its population, Haringey £67, Islington £103, Camden £100, Kensington and Chelsea £130.

These figures are examples of the amount of money allocated to local authorities by the Department of Health and Social Care for spending on vital local health services – funding illness prevention and helping to sustain our coveted NHS.

The table of London boroughs tells us that once again Enfield is seriously under-funded, that compared with our £47 per head, the average in the capital is £73 per head. And this gap is widening – four years ago there was a £24 difference between Enfield and the London average, while now it is £26. This is despite the fact that in 2015, ministers accepted that Enfield was getting 13.6% less than its target figure.

So what happened in April when Enfield North MP Joan Ryan tabled a parliamentary question asking health secretary Matt Hancock: “What steps is he taking to increase to at least the London average the level of public health funding allocated to the London borough of Enfield?”

We are still waiting for a straight answer. Instead, we have had junior health minister Seema Kennedy trot out irrelevant historic funding figures in reply to Joan, at the same time admitting that ministers had “made no specific assessment of any relationship between funding since 2015 and the effectiveness of services in Enfield”.

In my view this is a shameful admission because it takes no account of the changing needs of Enfield’s people in a borough which has some of the most poverty-stricken and deprived wards in the country. What other organisation would confess to making key policy decisions based on outdated figures?

We think it is time that ministers got their act together and recognised that this arbitrary and undemocratic way of working is unacceptable. This is why Enfield Over 50s Forum is suggesting we send a message to ministers in the form of a protest letter, asking why Enfield’s grant is so much lower than the London average and why it hasn’t changed since 2015.

If enough of us write, we can at least ensure that when the next spending review takes place in 2020, Enfield gets a fair deal.

Write to: Seema Kennedy MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health, House of Commons, London SW1A OAA.