UK Faculty of Public Health response to the Department of Health consultation on Local authority public health allocations 2015-2016

FPH welcomes the Prime Minister‘s commitment to increase NHS spending in real terms every year in this Parliament, rising to at least an extra £8 billion a year by 2020. We further welcome the Prime Minister‘s recognition that the costs of obesity, smoking, alcohol and diabetes necessitate ―a completely new approach to public health and preventable diseases – prevention, not just treatment. Tackling causes, not just symptoms.

The Secretary of State for Health has strongly affirmed that assurance. Alongside welcoming NHS England‘s Five Year Forward View (FYFV), which calls for a ―radical upgrade in prevention and public health, a ―vision is needed, the Secretary of State has announced, ―encompassing the move to prevention, not cure, with a much bigger focus on public health. That vision is critical to the future sustainability of the NHS.

It is both a false distinction and a false economy, to consider NHS and public health funding as separate. FPH is therefore both surprised and gravely concerned that while the Government has pledged that ―it is willing to support financially [the FYFV], that this financial commitment is limited to NHS spending alone – while the public health ring-fenced grant is to be cut by £200 million through proposed in-year savings (itself predicated on an erroneous understanding by the Treasury of how local authorities have managed their funding allocations, and that the £200 million represents an underspend). This comes at a time when Public Health England‘s budget faces further, significant, reductions in 2015/16, and 12% has already been cut from the national social care budget over the past four years…

Read the report at Faculty of Public Health Of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom.