2015/16 public health budget cuts

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced £4.5bn of measures to reduce public debt. This included £200m worth of cuts to the 2015/16 local authority public health budget and further planned reductions amounting £600m by 2020/21.

The cuts were categorised as saving on 'non-NHS' spending.

The Director for Midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives, Louise Silverton, commented that the announcement came at a time when the NHS should have been 'investing more in preventative services' and that to 'describe this as non-NHS spending is also very misleading'.

Dave Buck, Senior Fellow in Public Health and Inequalities at The King's Fund, suggested that the impact of the cuts would 'take a very long time to heal', and that these measures cast doubt over the 'radical upgrade of prevention' promised by the Five year forward view for the NHS in England.

In response to the objections raised, a Department of Health spokesperson stated that the £200m figure was 'based on projected local authority underspends' and that the cuts would 'not affect frontline services'.

Source(s)

HM Treasury.
Chancellor announces £4½ billion of measures to bring down debt.
HM Treasury; 2015.

Williams D.
Osborne announces £200m cut to public health budgets.
Local Government Chronicle; 2015.

Price C.
Government announces £200m cuts to public health budget.
Pulse; 2015.

Buck D.
Cutting the public health budget will cost the NHS.
Local Government Chronicle; 2015.