Public Health Cuts on the Way after Spending Review
Yesterday’s announcement by Chancellor George Osborne that the NHS budget was increasing by £3.8 billion from next year is likely to spell trouble for local authority public health services. The rise in NHS spending (as part of plans to raise the overall budget by £10 billion by 2020) will be partly paid for by a cut in the Department of Health budget.
The DoH’s non-NHS budget will be reduced from £15.1 billion to £13.6 billion in 2016/17, leading to inevitable cuts in public health funding. The department allocates money for central and local administration, clinical training, public health spending by local government, and the work of regulatory bodies such as the Care Quality Commission and the General Medical Council.
John Appleby, chief economist at health think tank The King’s Fund, told the Pulse website, “It is clear that a large chunk of the additional funding for the NHS has been found through substantial cuts to other DoH budgets. The full details are not yet clear, but cutting the public health budget is a false economy, undermining the government’s commitments on prevention at a time when the need to improve public health is becoming increasingly urgent.”
Whilst the government will continue to ring-fence the local authority public health budget for the next two years, in real terms directors of Public Health are facing an annual 3.9% cut until 2020.