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Last Updated: Monday, 11 August, 2003, 15:25 GMT 16:25 UK
Health chief calls for more money
Penny Young
Penny Young says they need more money to tackle problems
The boss of a county Durham health trust has described the poor level of funding it gets from the government as "immoral".

Easington is among the worst 10% areas in the country for health problems among residents.

But Penny Young, who runs Easington Primary Care Trust, said they are not getting enough money to put things right.

The health authority gets 80p for every 1 it needs to tackle ill health in the district.

A report out later this week - called "Miserable Measures" - is expected to confirm that the area's health problems are a national issue.

Teenage pregnancy

Ms Young has appealed to the Prime Minister, Tony Blair - whose Sedgefield constituency takes in part of Easington - for help.

She said: "We have very high health risks in Easington.

"We have 40% of people more likely to die from heart attacks and strokes, we have high instance of mental health illness.

"We have substance misuse with young people and high teenage pregnancy.

"Yet historically, we have been under funded as an area and under the new population funded formula we are still down. We are 26m under funded."

Equal access

In St Albans, Hertfordshire, only 3% of people are permanently disabled or sick, compared to Easington where the figure is 16%.

St Albans, which has a similar sized heath authority to Easington, gets 1.13 for every 1 needed - 33p more than the County Durham district.

Ms Young added: "I would just say to him [Tony Blair], it is unfair.

"This is not equal access for health needs and it should be. I think it is immoral."

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