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Potential NHS disaster if public health funding is cut

Commenting on an announcement today that £200 million of cuts will be made to non-NHS Department of Health funding, Professor John Ashton, President of the Faculty of Public Health, said:

“FPH is very concerned that the Treasury is planning £200 million of cuts to non-NHS Department of Health funding. It is not yet clear how much of this could be taken from the ‘ring fenced’ public health funding for local authorities.
“This is a potential disaster for the NHS, whose future depends on the preventative approach outlined in the Five Year Forward Plan that the Chief Executive of NHS England has rightly called for. We cannot overload the NHS with the burden of treating preventable ill health without tackling the reasons why people get ill in the first place.

"We need public health interventions if we are to have a fit and healthy nation both now and for future generations. How can the Prime Minister’s strategy to tackle obesity be made a reality if we cut back on the very services that could make this happen?
As the saying goes, ‘pay cheap, pay twice’. It is time for this and every government to accept that we cannot cut back on measures now that prevent ill health without passing on an increased cost to future generations. Local authorities are uniquely placed to help create healthy communities. We should be supporting them to do this, and not cutting back on funding that could protect and improve people’s health.”

Written: 04/06/2015 , last modified: 17/09/2015