David Brindle (Guardian September 2nd) highlighted the cut of £200 million in public health funding, amounting to 6.2% cuts in local councils public health budgets. For international readers, public health in England is located in local councils rather than in the health service.
But if it’s real blunder potential you’re looking for consider the move to cut this year’s public health budget in England by £200m. It’s not the stuff of headlines – it was hardly noticed by the non-specialist media and £200 million seems small beer against the £ 70bn deficit that Osborne aims to clear by the end of this parliament. But the effect is profound.
The 5 Year Forward View Plan by NHS England Chief Executive talks of a ‘radical upgrade in prevention and public health’ to ease the burden of disease. Yet the 6.2% cut in councils’ public health budgets will hit programmes that counter obesity and smoking, drug and alcohol misuse, and sexually transmitted infections. As local government bodies have said, the cut is ‘short sighted, short term and unwarranted.
Michael Marmot, highly respected epidemiologist and public health doctor and author of the Health Gap (2015) has also described the proposed cuts as ‘a very bad thing’
Cited in the Guardian September 10th: 2015