Government to cut £200 million from Public Health Budget
Following Chancellor George Osborne’s announced £3 billion cuts to public services last week, the Department of Health are set to consult with councils on how they can trim £200 million from the public health budget for 2015-16.
The cut represents 7.4% of the annual public health budget which is given to councils via Public Health England; areas such as smoking cessation, sexual health, obesity prevention and local screening programmes could all see significant budget reductions under the proposals. The Treasury claim that the amount has been based on projected local authority under-spends and will not affect front line services.
Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) President, Dr Janet Atherton is worried about the potential knock on effect on the NHS. “We are very concerned and disappointed to see immediate and significant cuts to funding for Public Health. The government has stated its support for the NHS 5 Year Forward View. A critical component of this is prevention” she said in an official statement on the ADPH website; “The cuts to Public Health on top of the already substantial cuts in Local Authority budgets will have a detrimental impact on local authorities’ ability to improve the health & wellbeing of people within their communities.”
The proposed cuts come only days after NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens, called smoking ‘the new obesity’ pointing out that one in five cancer deaths are caused by the habit.