Doctors are warning NHS services in Macclesfield are facing a ticking time bomb due to our ageing population.
They say Cheshire East’s GP surgeries and Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) doesn’t get their fair share of the health budget because it is perceived as ‘affluent’.
And they say that the government funding formula doesn’t take into account the fact that the borough has the fastest aging population in the North West, meaning more money is needed for prescriptions, referrals and more care.
Twenty-two GP surgeries - including Macclesfield’s High Street Surgery, Park Lane Surgery, Broken Cross Surgery, South Park Surgery, Cumberland House Surgery and Park Green Surgery - have signed up to the ‘NHS SOS’ campaign for fairer funding for NHS organisations in East Cheshire, which aims to put pressure on parliament to ensure services are funded adequately and fairly.
They warn the cuts will lead to cuts to front-line services in surgeries, hospitals and health centres, longer waiting times and even closures.
A GP and NHS SOS spokesman said: “NHS organisations in East Cheshire have been funded unfairly for years. Funding is cut to the bone already and more cuts will be really serious. The allocation of budgets follows a similar pattern as schools and doesn’t take into account our elderly population.
“The fat went years ago and any more cuts will mean waiting times go up and things that patients really need will stop.
“It’s remarkable that all GP surgeries have united to let patients know of the cuts to come. East Cheshire is seen as an affluent area but rich people get sick too.
“If you thought the school funding formula was bad, this is much worse.”
NHS England has sent in auditors to assess the overspending which has caused a budget deficit in East Cheshire. It’s one of 11 health economies being assessed in this way. The auditor will recommend where further savings can be made.
Gerry Biggs, chairman of Chelford Patients Representative Group, said: “GP practices in East Cheshire provide great service and all are rated outstanding or good but sadly, they are facing cuts.
“The funding takes no account of East Cheshire’s large elderly population and is much less than provided to other areas.
“This will have an impact on the services that they can offer us all.”