Fears of future strain on NHS as councils slash health programmes

Full story in The Guardian, 8 July 2018

Hospitals will bear the brunt of “incredibly shortsighted” cuts to public health initiatives that will lead to more people having a heart attack or getting cancer, experts are warning.

New research reveals that, by next year, spending per head in England on programmes to tackle smoking, poor diet and alcohol abuse will have fallen by 23.5% over five years.

Key services, including those to help people quit smoking, manage their sexual health or stay off drugs, are among those being subjected to the deepest cuts, according to analysis by the Health Foundation thinktank.

Public health funding will continue to be slashed despite the extra £20bn that Theresa May has pledged to give the NHS by 2023-24. The public health grant that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) gives to local councils in England, which is not covered by the cash injection, is due to fall from £2.44bn this year to £2.27bn in 2019-20. It will be the fifth year in a row it has been cut since its peak of £2.86bn in 2014-15.