Allocation of public health funding to local authorities is likely to be based on relative mortality rates for people aged below 75.
The population health metric recommended by the Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation (ACRA) has been provisionally accepted by the Government.
The recommendation reflects the shift of the needs-based resource allocation model from the NHS to local government, which will have an estimated £2.2bn public health budget.
It follows Andrew Lansley’s statement in May that the health impact of economic deprivation was now an issue for local government, not for the NHS – which would shift to a funding model based only on population age.
The new DH report Healthy Lives, Healthy People: Update on Public Health Funding quotes ACRA’s proposal that resource allocation for public health should be based on the standardised mortality ratio (SMR) for those under 75.
Small areas (containing about 7,000 people) with the highest SMRs should receive a weight per head three times greater than those with the lowest SMRs, the Committee said.
In addition, a new health premium incentive should reward local authorities for improvements in population health.
The DH has pledged to ensure that the new public health funding is ring-fenced and will not negatively affect other local authority budgets.
However, it warned: “The current restrictions on growth in public health spending will mean that, initially, progress towards the preferred distribution is likely to be slow.”
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