Is town losing out on health cash?

PATIENTS in Weston receive less money for treatment than in other parts of the district it has been claimed. Figures seen by the Weston & Somerset Mercury

PATIENTS in Weston receive less money for treatment than in other parts of the district it has been claimed.Figures seen by the Weston & Somerset Mercury reveal residents living in towns such as Clevedon and Portishead receive more money than those in Weston from the Primary Care Trust (PCT). Dr Peter Smith, who works at Milton Surgery, in Milton Road, says the funding gap is growing and will only be made worse by the 'chronic under funding' the PCT receives from the Government. Dr Smith, who has worked in the resort for 25 years, also said the lack of cash for patients meant that recruiting good GPs was difficult due to the lack of applicants as people do not want to come here.He said: "The problem with Weston and North Somerset is because we have always been short of money we have never been able to catch up and as each year goes by we get further behind. "As a result we have to make ends meet and cannot introduce new services."We need political action to find ways in which patients exported here from other areas are fully funded by the areas they are leaving.""This applies to elderly residents in nursing homes and residential homes, the alcohol and drug misusers and also the mentally ill who are increasingly coming into specialist units that are opening here."Weston-based organisations do a brilliant job on caring for all these needy people but many arrive with long lists of expensive medications. "If their health deteriorates, it is the local hospital, GP and mental health services that have to pick up the fall out."It would be like robbing Peter to pay Paul if we took money from other parts of the district."What is needed is a recognition of the special status of Weston as a deprivation area as troubled as any of the metropolitan areas in the country."The Government needs to realise it has been short changing us for a very long time and they will have cough up if they want to see progress in this area."Dr Smith is currently discussing the matter with PCT chief executive Chris Born.

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