§ Mr. Spearing
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what advice he has given, or what requests he has made, to regional health authorities concerning the factors they should take into account in constructing their own formulae for resource allocation; and whether it includes mobility indices, socio-economic indices and conditions of housing.
§ Mr. Ennals
Health authorities in England have copies of the statement I made in my reply to the hon. Members for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Eyre) and Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. Osborn) on 21st December 1976—[Vol. 923, c.91–3.] reaffirming my determination that the resources of the National Health Service should be more fairly shared between and within regions, and announcing that for 1977–78 the broad principles established by the Resource Allocation Working Party should be followed. The working party's proposals included establishing objective measures of relative health care need by weighting population according to age and sex structure and by standardised mortality ratios applied to the national utilisation rates, disaggregated where practicable by conditions, of a broad band of health services. Thus the measure is indirectly responsive to such causal factors as socio-economic structure and housing conditions. Recalculation of the formula each year, as proposed, takes into account population movements. My statement stressed the importance of unquantifiable factors in determining how far and how fast the present pattern of distribution of resources should be moved towards that indicated by the formula, and made clear that a rapid and mechanical equalisation of resources over a period of a few years was not practicable, if we have to continue the present low rate of increase of the financial resources available nationally. I shall give health authorities more detailed advice when notifying allocations.