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Nurses Warn Funding Cuts Are a Threat to Public Health

June 22, 2016
Public Health

A poll of over 10,000 nurses and healthcare assistants across the UK conducted by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has found that increasing numbers of patients are being affected by lifestyle factors, many of which are related to cuts in Public Health spending.

The survey found 38% of respondents had seen patients whose health had been affected by malnutrition or food poverty, while 41% had encountered patients whose conditions had been created by poor housing. A lack of heating was highlighted as one of the major issues of concern.

Karen Webb, an eastern region director at the RCN, said: “This research shows that our members are seeing huge increases in ill health which could have been prevented. While lifestyle choices have a part to play, many of the problems identified by nurses come down to the very difficult lives many of them lead. Inadequate or unsafe housing has a huge effect on health, as does overcrowding, food poverty, overwork, unemployment and family breakdown. Dealing with just one of these problems can take its toll on both mental and physical health, but the reality is that many people live with many of them.”

Half of those surveyed believe that the number of patients admitted to hospital with preventable health conditions has increased during the course of their careers. As a result of the research, the RCN Council will be urging the government to reinstate adequate levels of public health funding.