Leeds ,
31
July
2015
|
17:29
Europe/London

Public health consultation document offers little hope for Leeds preventative health funding

Government consultation about the implementation of £200 million cuts to Public Health has finally been announced.

The long awaited issue of the consultation document – which councils have been awaiting for nearly two months – asks councils to suggest how the cuts should be implemented.

As part of wider reductions in funding from central government, the 2015/16 public health grant to local authorities is being cut by £200 million and councils are being asked how this should be done.

The four weeks exercise coincides both with parliament being in recess and peak holiday season, not just for councils but other organisations and members of the public who might also want to respond.

The document asks if Local Authority cuts should be calculated as a standard, flat rate of 6.2 per cent applied to all, or a process that differentiates between them in different circumstances (allowing for evidence of hardship, for example) applying varied percentages that still total £200 million.

The in-year cuts will see many authorities having to look at ways to find savings from money already assigned to preventative health work through contracts with the NHS and other community and third sector organisations as part of long term contracts, many of which are subject to six month notice of changes.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:

“This is as bad as we feared. The options offer no succour for people in Leeds who will see services cut which, as the head of the NHS has made clear, are vital to improving the long term health of people in Leeds and every other community.

“There is no rationale for the way this is being done, and it is pulling the rug from under our feet as we try to invest in helping the health of those with least in the city. Just as we were starting to see the benefits of targeted public health work in Leeds, with a narrowing gap between health between the poorest and best off parts of the city, we are losing the opportunity build on this and reduce future burdens on GPs, hospitals and other health and care services.

“There is an old adage that prevention is better than cure, and that is true not just for individuals but for the public purse. Withdrawing funds from prevention we will see both individuals and the services they use having to spend more to cope with the long term impact of these cuts. That just makes no economic sense.”

Dr Ian Cameron, Leeds City Council Director of Public Health, said:

“This is likely to mean a cut of over £2.8 million for Leeds. There are a range of actions we have to do by law and we are at the forefront of giving advice on alcohol and drug misuse, helping people stop smoking, advising on obesity and diet, and promoting physical activity, better nutrition and healthy lifestyle.

“We also coordinate initiatives to improve mental health, the health of children and young people, and a wide range of other activity.

“We will work with our partners in the health and care sectors, as well as the third sector and community representatives to work out how we deal with this cut. It will have a devastating impact on our work this year and if it is repeated next year as well, it will be a hammer blow for vital preventative work in communities across Leeds.”

Information for editors:

The consultation document is at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/449058/Cons_local_authorities_public_health_grant.pdf

The Director of Public Health’s last annual report, which details examples of public health work in Leeds, is available at: http://observatory.leeds.gov.uk/Leeds_DPH_Report/

(A new report for 2014/15 will be issued this autumn.)

Councils also have a number of specific responsibilities described by law, including:

  • helping protect people from dangers of communicable diseases and environmental threats.
  • organising and paying for sexual health services.
  • providing specialist public health advice to primary care services such as GPs and community health professionals.
  • organising and paying for height and weight checks for primary school children, and
  • organising and pay for regular health checks for people in Leeds.

Issued by:

Phil Morcom

Communications and Marketing team

Leeds City Council

2nd Floor East, Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR

Mobile: 07891 276270

Fax: 0113 247 4736

www.leeds.gov.uk

Information for editors:

The consultation document is at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/449058/Cons_local_authorities_public_health_grant.pdf

The Director of Public Health’s last annual report, which details examples of public health work in Leeds, is available at: http://observatory.leeds.gov.uk/Leeds_DPH_Report/

(A new report for 2014/15 will be issued this autumn.)

Councils also have a number of specific responsibilities described by law, including:

  • helping protect people from dangers of communicable diseases and environmental threats.
  • organising and paying for sexual health services.
  • providing specialist public health advice to primary care services such as GPs and community health professionals.
  • organising and paying for height and weight checks for primary school children, and
  • organising and pay for regular health checks for people in Leeds.

Issued by:

Phil Morcom

Communications and Marketing team

Leeds City Council

2nd Floor East, Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR

Mobile: 07891 276270

Fax: 0113 247 4736

www.leeds.gov.uk