Leading public health doctors have sent an open letter to the chancellor George Osborne, calling on him to reverse his decision to cut £200m from this year’s public health grant to local authorities.
The letter, sent by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and signed by ten other organisations – including the Faculty of Public Health, the Association of Directors of Public Health and the Local Government Association – says the cut, announced in June, will have ‘a direct impact on people and communities’ as well as on the NHS ‘which will have to pick up the pieces by treating preventable ill health’.
The experts argue that investing the money in prevention and public health is more likely to achieve the Government’s aim to ‘reduce the wider budget deficit’.
They urge the chancellor to ‘consider very seriously the position we have outlined, to reverse these cuts in your forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review and give a clear commitment that no further cuts will be made to public health budgets in future years’.
The letter comes after public health leaders at one local council revealed to Pulse they were having to cut GP funding for the Government’s flagship NHS Health Checks programme as a direct result of the cuts.
Experts have also warned smoking cessation services are under threat as a result of cutbacks in public health funding, which unlike the NHS budget is not ring-fenced.