Responding to the publication of the Government’s 2019-20 Public Health Grant to Local Authorities, which confirms a -2.6 per cent cut to public health budgets, Dr Peter English, BMA public health medicine committee chair, said:
“The Government has said public ill-health is a priority, yet these figures confirm that funding for local councils to provide vital public health services are continuing to be cut, leaving many areas unable to meet the needs of their local population.
“The importance of prevention cannot be underestimated, as not only does it save money by reducing future demand on the NHS, but crucially it can lead to thousands of lives a year being saved.
“Preventable ill-health accounts for an estimated 50 per cent of all GP appointments, 64 per cent of outpatient appointments and 70 per cent of all inpatient bed days, while preventable conditions such as heart and respiratory diseases, stroke, and some cancers are leading to far too many unnecessary deaths.
“Only by adequately funding public health, both through the NHS and by reversing cuts to local authorities and services that tackle smoking, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity and diet, will the Government meet their ambition to really prioritise prevention.
“A properly resourced and supported workforce, including valuable public health doctors, must also be key if Britain is serious about improving the health and wellbeing of its population.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.