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The News Line: News PLAN TO SLASH £85m FROM PUBLIC HEALTH ‘CUTS like this signify a huge step backwards for public health, and will have a damaging impact on people’s health and wellbeing, inevitably costing the NHS far more in the long term,’ Dr Iain Kennedy, BMA public health committee chair said yesterday.

He was responding to new analysis from The King’s Fund which shows that government cuts have led to planned spending on public health services being slashed by £85 million. Dr Kennedy continued: ‘At a time when a third of Britons are projected to be obese by 2030, when smoking accounts for around 100,000 deaths a year in the UK,  and when there’s been a significant rise in the number of cases of sexually transmitted infections, public health services are more vital than ever in delivering preventative care.

‘We have seen successive governments fail to deliver a sustainable, long-term plan to improve public health. The government must ensure public health receives the funding it desperately needs, alongside work to improve the provision of sexual health services, tighten regulation of the food and soft drinks industry, introduce a minimum unit price on alcohol and expand support for people to quit smoking.’

Wendy Preston, Head of Nursing at the Royal College of Nursing, was equally opposed to the previously hidden Tory cuts, saying: ‘It is deeply concerning that the Government is choosing to underfund health and care services. Decades of progress will be threatened by this short-termist thinking.

‘Clinics led by nurses are extremely successful at promoting sexual health, helping people to give up smoking or overcome drink and drug abuse – cutting them back is a false economy. The evidence shows that investment in prevention and intervention services works for patients and gives better value to taxpayers – the removal of them piles pressure onto expensive acute and community services.

‘People were already struggling to access sexual health services, leading to concerns about further transmission, and the reduction in funding will do nothing to address that. Overstretched clinics, like elsewhere in the NHS, are struggling to recruit and retain nursing staff too. Ministers must accept they are storing up problems for the future unless they give health and care services the funding they need.’


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