PCT Ranked Highest For Investment In Social Care But Lowest For Heart Disease

The frontline healthcare body for Mole Valley has hit back at a survey that ranked it among the lowest in the country for spending on combating heart disease. East Elmbridge and Mid Surrey Primary Care Trust (PCT) spent £98 per head on circulatory problem, including heart disease, from 2004 to 2005, compared with a highest of £173 in South and East Dorset and a lowest of £68 in City and Hackney. Figures from a report by the independent King’s Fund also showed the trust spent about half of neighbouring Guildford and Waverley PCT – £65 per head compared to £126.

But the trust has defended the findings, reported in last week’s Advertiser, which also show higher levels of investment in other areas.

In the report, East Elm-bridge and Mid Surrey PCT was ranked highest for investment in social care needs as it was found to have spent more money on social care services in 2004/05 than any other PCT in England.

The PCT showed high levels of investment in many areas including endocrine,nutritional and metabolic problems, diabetes, mental health, sub-stance misuse, dementia, learning disabilities, dental services, musculo skeletal conditions, trauma and injuries, and genito-urinary conditions, where the PCT’s investment levels were all in the highest 30 per cent of all PCTs in England.

PCTs are allocated money on the basis of the health and costs of providing services to their resident population.

Dr Liz Tayler, East Elm-bridge and Mid Surrey director of public health, said the report showed the trust was, on the whole, putting money where it is needed. She said: “Some variations in spending across the country are to be expected given the different needs of local communities and it is up to us, as a PCT, to make spending decisions based on local needs.

“The PCT is ranked lower in relation to investment in other areas, such as cancers and tumours, circulatory conditions and respiratory conditions. There is a strong correlation between socioeconomic status and smoking and many of these conditions. As the PCT has relatively low levels of deprivation and smoking, it also has lower rates of these diseases.”

Despite low spend levels in combating cancer and heart disease, Dr Tayler said the PCT remained committed to meeting Government targets in priority areas. She said the trust will continue to invest significant amounts of money to ensure this happens.

But Dr Tayler added: “Whilst this data on spend is useful in helping PCTs to identify where spending priorities should lie in future, it does not necessarily follow that spending more in any given area, will improve health outcomes.

“Different health systems can achieve similar outcomes with very different resourcing levels, depending upon the efficiencies of the system, and the socioeconomic context in which it operates.”