BARNSLEY could become the 'poor relative of the NHS' if proposals to cut the town's health budget by more than £40million go ahead.

Figures published by NHS England show Barnsley stands to lose 13.5 per cent of its budget - an estimated £41million - if a proposed change is introduced.

Currently, funding is weighted towards deprived areas with the highest health inequalities, but the move would mean a funding formula based on health needs linked to age, sex and location.

The current budget, announced last December, stands at £344million but this could be reduced to £303million.

But Rachael Maskell, head of health at trade union Unite, said the proposals would impact disproportionately on deprived areas, such as Barnsley.

"In deprived areas, people don't live as long," she said. "It will cause more health inequalities which will be really detrimental to a place like Barnsley.

"Barnsley is going to be the poor relative of the NHS. If there's less money available, there's less money to spend and invest in making sure people don't get ill in the first place. Everything costs."

Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis said cutting millions from the local NHS budget could have a devastating impact on the lives of residents and said he would be arguing for Barnsley to receive the decent level of funding it deserves.

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