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NHS Swale Clinical Commissioning Group's budget has been boosted by more than £3 million to tackle deprivation

24 January 2014
by Andy Gray

It was allocated the money by NHS England for its 2014/15 budget and represents a 2.63% increase on the previous year’s sum, £124.5 million.

CCG plans and buys healthcare for people in Sheppey, Sittingbourne and surrounding villages.

Dr Fiona Armstrong, GP at Grovehurst Surgery, Kemsley and chairman of NHS Swale Clinical Commissioning Group

Dr Fiona Armstrong, GP at Grovehurst Surgery, Kemsley and chairman of NHS Swale Clinical Commissioning Group

The budget increase follows NHS England’s move towards a “formula that balances the three main factors in healthcare needs: population growth, deprivation and the impact of an ageing population”.

Dr Fiona Armstrong (pictured), chairman of CCG, said she was pleased with the allocation which went “someway to addressing the shortfall in our budget.”

She added: “We are passionate about improving life expectancy in Swale, which in some parts of our area is unacceptably low compared to other parts of Kent and the country as a whole.”

Swale is the third-most deprived district in the county and has an average life expectancy of 79, the lowest of the eight CCG areas.

Among its 106,000 population is an increasing number of elderly people and an above average number of under-fives.

Smoking and obesity are higher than average, and the rate of diabetes is joint-highest in Kent along with Thanet.

Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson gave a guarded welcome to the increase.

He said: “I’m a little disappointed that NHS England has not recognised fully the level of health deprivation in Sittingbourne and Sheppey.

“We have a number of areas where specific health problems are prevalent and this has led to an element of health inequality, particularly between communities with a higher proportion of elderly people and those where the population is, on average, younger.

“So yes, we would have liked to see an even bigger increase, however, this is a step in the right direction.”

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