CIEH Warns Environmental Health Services at Crisis Point
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has warned that continued cuts to public spending will have long-term consequences on health and wellbeing. The results from the latest Environmental Health Workforce Survey, undertaken over 18 months, show that average budgets have fallen by 6.8% in real terms in the last year, while 47.4% of respondents believed that current resources were only just adequate to provide basic statutory services.
Health and Safety has been particularly badly hit, with results suggesting that in a four year period between 2010 and 2014, the number of proactive inspections dropped by 91%. The number of qualified environmental health practitioners has also decreased by 11%. Budgets for 2015/16 are expected to face reductions of up to 30%, with air quality monitoring and pest control services identified as the areas most likely to be cut.
Graham Jukes OBE, chief executive of the CIEH, believes any further cuts will have serious consequences for the NHS. “Government policy is to focus on reducing the long-term costs to the NHS by encouraging preventative health actions and environmental health services are on the front-line of that agenda,” he said. “Local councils, however, have borne the brunt of the government’s social and economic change programme over the past five years and this has meant essential environmental health services are at a tipping point.”
Mr Jukes warned that continued budget cuts will lead to increased numbers of food poisoning outbreaks, fires in houses in multiple occupation and more prevalent anti-social behaviour, all of which will drain the public purse.
You can download a full copy of the 2014/15 Workforce Survey HERE