HC Deb 29 January 2003 vol 398 c899W
Mr. Luff

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assumptions were made in the service and financial framework for the Worcestershire health economy for 2002–03 in terms of(a) anticipated additional allocations from the Department of Health during the financial year and (b) the uplift for GP prescribing budgets; if these assumptions were in line with the external advice available to those preparing the framework; and who approved the final service and financial framework. [93007]

Mr. Lammy

Worcestershire health authority received an increase of £34.630 million to its revenue resource allocation, a 9.68 per cent. increase on the total 2001–02 allocation, in 2002–03.

The assumptions made in the 2002–03 service and financial framework by Worcestershire health authority (HA), which co-ordinated the process, were: There were no anticipated additional allocations from the Department of Health during the financial year. However, there was an assumption made of slippage in-year of £2.5 million, i.e., allocations received in 2002–03 but against which expenditure would not be incurred recurrently until future years. This forecast slippage was at the same level as previous years. The uplift for primary care prescribing costs assumed by Worcestershire health authority was 11 per cent. on the 2001–02 forecast outturn of these costs. This was in line with national guidance. The HA also proposed making efficiency savings of 3.6 per cent., giving a net increase of 7.4 per cent. As required by national guidance, where prescribing costs efficiency savings were planned, this was supported by an action plan prepared by the HA.

The chief executive designate for the new strategic health authority (StHA) played an active part in the local discussions and agreements with primary care groups and national health service trusts, and agreement of service and financial frameworks (SaFFs) was an important element of the franchise plan for the chief executive of the StHA.

In addition the Department of Health, both at regional office and national levels, had an overseeing role for the whole SaFF process in particular and to ensure that all key targets were planned to be met.