HC Deb 08 December 1986 vol 107 cc63-5W
Mr. Dobson

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how his Department calculates the weighted population share for allocation of capital resources to regional health authorities;

(2) in allocating capital resources to regional health authorities to what factors he has regard in addition to the weighted population share.

Mr. Newton

The method of calculating weighted populations for capital allocations is based on the recommendations of the resource allocation working party (RAWP) in its report "Sharing Resources for Health in England"—Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1976.

The base data are regional health authority managed populations projected five years ahead of the year of allocation. The populations are then weighted separately for each of six main service blocks—non-psychiatric in-patients, day and out-patients, mental illness in-patients, mental handicap in-patients, community health and ambulance services—to reflect the differential use made of hospital and community health services by people of different ages and sexes. The weighted populations for the six service blocks are then combined to form an aggregated weighted population for each region.

RAWP's recommendations also aimed to take account of the existing distribution of capital stock. Thus, in addition to weighted population shares, the formula included some allowance for the disparity in the distribution of regions' inherited capital stock. After consultation with health authorities in 1983, it was agreed that, because of technical difficulties, the stock equalisation element of the formula should be phased out over the period 1985–86 to 1991–92. Thereafter, capital RAWP allocations will be based exclusively on regions' weighted population shares.

Other capital allocations outside RAWP are as follows:

  1. 1. Joint finance capital and inner cities bias capital: allocated according to RAWP weighted population with some modifications.
  2. 2. Dental hospital re-equipment grant: a flat rate allowance per dental hospital.
  3. 3. Teaching hospital schemes: 35 per cent of the NHS cost of teaching hospital capital schemes is met by central preemption.
  4. 4. Special and development schemes: Ministers take decisions on individual schemes or initiatives—for example, regional secure units.
  5. 5. Urban programme.

Local authorities submit programmes for consideration to locally based joint consultative committees for recommendations to the Department of the Environment. This Department is notified of Department of the Environment decisions and allocates funds accordingly for the total health authority cost of approved projects within the year(s) the expenditure is incurred.

Mr. Dobson

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether any press releases issued by the Health Education Council are referred for approval to his Department.

Mr. Newton


Mr. Dobson

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what safeguards will be instituted to ensure the independence of the special health authority to be set up following the abolition of the Health Education Council.

Mr. Newton

My right hon. Friend will look to the new authority to provide independent advice to him on matters concerning health education and promotion. It will, as does the Health Education Council, carry out its work within the overall framework of ministerial policies and priorities.