In Dacorum, we are only too well-aware how demand on GP time as well as moving patients through our hospitals can create huge problems for health and wellbeing generally.
But George Osborne’s sudden announcement this summer of a ‘saving’ of £200m in this year’s Public Health budget is about to make things worse by withdrawing services designed to help us live a little healthier and take the pressure off the health service.
Denounced by the Kings Fund (the leading ‘Think Tank’ for health and care in England), as the “falsest of false economies”, this massive cut puts a range of every day services at risk.
If you’re getting on a bit or have young children life is about to get harder.
The Tories vaguely presume that charities will replace lost services but local Tories have just agreed cuts of up to 10% in the Borough’s funding support for the Voluntary Sector.
So what services are we talking about and what are we about to lose? Here’s a list of examples which is by no means exhaustive:
- CHILD HEALTH School Nursing, Health Visitors, Breast Feeding, Child Weight Management, Work to stop children starting smoking.
- MENTAL HEALTH MH Teams, Befriending services for older people, Reducing isolation and promoting better community engagement, Bereavement Support, Advice Services including debt advice and financial capability programmes, Suicide Prevention, Green Space initiatives, Domestic Abuse support, Mental Health in the Workplace programmes.
- DRUG & ALCOHOL Drug & Alcohol Prevention, treatment and linked recovery support.
- SEXUAL HEALTH STD Screening, Sexual Advice programmes.
- HEALTH IMPROVEMENT NHS Health Checks, Health Trainers, Healthy Weight services.
Prominent Public Health professionals have estimated that the £200m-a-year “savings” will actually generate costs exceeding £1billion a year as a result of these potential cuts leading, in many cases, to increases in preventable diseases and further pressures on an already beleaguered NHS
If you are likely to be effected by any of these cuts we’d love to hear from you.