Ruth Cadbury Claims Public Health Services Starved of Cash

Says cuts are forcing teams dealing with Covid to make hard choices

Ruth Cadbury MP

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Brentford and Isleworth MP, Ruth Cadbury, is claiming that reductions in government spending have resulted in significant cuts to public health services such as stop-smoking, sexual health and addiction support.

She quotes new research that she says shows that Hounslow Council has lost £3.19m in funding for local public health services over the last five years.

She believes that this reduction in financial support means that public health teams in have had to make difficult decisions about their existing services while also working to control the spread of Covid-19.

Local public health teams aim to support people in the borough to stay well and help prevent health problems through services that includes smoking cessation, sexual health, obesity, public mental health, drug and alcohol services, and healthy eating.

In last month’s Autumn Budget and Spending Review, the Government announced no real terms change to the total public health grant, which means no extra funding for local public health teams in 2022/23.

Ms Cadbury MP said, “I know the public health team in Hounslow have worked so hard to keep us all safe during the pandemic and everyone locally is so grateful for all the work they’ve done, including during the delta Covid outbreak earlier this year.

"It is infuriating that despite their hard work the Government have refused to give them the support they need and cut them out of key decisions last year when a local lockdown was imposed.

“On top of that we’ve seen the Prime Minister waste money on crony contracts for PPE that didn’t work and a track and trace program that collapsed last summer.

“A decade of funding cuts by this Government has had a huge impact on councils such as Hounslow. It’s pointless for this Government to talk about levelling up if they’re slashing vital public health services."

Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said, "Our NHS is in crisis and patients are waiting longer for treatment thanks to years of cuts and a failure to recruit the doctors and nurses needed. In communities across the country the Government have cut the vital public health services that prevent people becoming seriously ill, ultimately putting more pressure on local hospitals.

“To save lives we need to keep people well, but instead public health services are set to be stretched again thanks to this government."

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said, “We are absolutely committed to levelling up health and the new Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) will support people of all ages, in all areas of the country, to live healthier lives and prevent illness.

“The Government is supporting Directors of Public Health and their teams to protect and improve public health and wellbeing by making over £10 billion available to local councils to address the wider costs and impacts of COVID-19.

“We have also increased the local authority public health grant to over £3.3bn this year and allocated additional funding to tackle obesity and drug addiction.”

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November 19, 2021

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