£200m Cuts to Public Health: The Situation is Getting Serious
The Treasury’s announcement of a £200m cut to “non-NHS” funding has raised alarm bells amongst professional organizations from the Faculty of Public Health and Association of Directors of Public Health to the Royal College of Midwives – and rightly so.
Here we go again – the need to identify financial savings has resulted in cuts with short-term benefits to the public purse but which will have a significant impact on health and therefore increase costs in the long-term.
The announcement is at complete odds with NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens’ vision of “a radical upgrade in prevention and public health” and for the NHS and partners to get serious about prevention, as he outlined in the Five Year Forward View. This is a vision he reiterated last week at his speech to the NHS Confederation Conference, and one which is beginning to take shape – with the launch of the “first ever national evidence based diabetes prevention programme at-scale” in March, bringing together NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK to prevent Type 2 diabetes.
The “£200m in non-NHS cuts” announcement raises questions about the signals the Government as a whole is sending about getting serious about prevention.
A cut to prevention and public health in Local Authorities does not save money, nor will it be achieved without an impact on the NHS.