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Battle for health money to beat ‘chronic underfunding’ in Haringey

07:00 15 September 2012

Haringey gets less funding for health than its neighbours. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty.

Haringey gets less funding for health than its neighbours. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty.

2010 Getty Images

Haringey may have won the battle for fairer funding for local schools, but a new fight to remedy the “chronic under-funding” of the borough’s health services is now underway.

Funding inequalities see Haringey patients denied access to the same services and facing longer waiting times than those in neighbouring boroughs like Camden and Islington, which receive more funding due to their ‘‘inner London’’ status.

Haringey is considered an ‘‘outer London borough’’ which led to years of underfunding in local schools, a problem finally rectified this year after much campaigning.

Bernice Vanier, cabinet member for health and adult services, explained: “The council inherited a chronic under-funding for health.

“Haringey is the fourth most deprived borough in London and with deprivation comes a strong public health need.

“Yet in terms of its public health funding Haringey is only ranked twelfth – a clear inequality.”

But the much-needed medicine of fairer funding has not been delivered despite repeated council appeals to the government, and now MP Lynne Featherstone has launched a campaign to fight this injustice.

The Hornsey and Wood Green MP has urged the Health Secretary to meet with representatives from Haringey before deciding on a new funding formula which aims to distribute finances more fairly across local authorities.

She said: “Local people may know about my campaign for fairer funding for Haringey’s schools.

“You can expect a similar fight and effort to get fairer health funding for the borough.”

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “We are working hard to tackle health inequalities. From next year, local authorities will receive a specific public health budget for the first time, targeted at the areas that need it most.

“Additionally, the Health Act has given the NHS its first ever duties concerning the need to reduce health inequalities.”

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