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Doctors say public health cuts will hurt NHS

Vote to campaign against £200m cuts

Adrian O'Dowd

Friday, 26 June 2015

Doctors have voted to oppose cuts to public health budgets that they say will damage the nation’s health and increase costs and pressures on the NHS.

In an emergency motion at the BMA’s annual representative meeting in Liverpool yesterday, doctors voted unanimously for the motion, which condemned Chancellor George Osborne’s decision to cut £200 million from the public health grant given to local authorities.

They also rejected what was called the “spurious justification” that the public health grant is non-NHS funding.

Public health became the responsibility of local authorities as a result of the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

Dr Iain Kennedy, chair of the BMA’s public health committee, said that Mr Osborne’s decision would directly damage the public’s health and increase pressure on the NHS.

Dr Kennedy said: “Investment in public health is already under intense pressure as local authorities use their funding to cover cuts to other budgets.

“Yet the government has announced a further £200m of cuts from the supposedly ‘ring-fenced’ public health grant - that’s the equivalent to the total public health grant for Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool combined - potentially leaving services and staffing levels gutted and unable to cope with rising need.

“The government is demanding vast savings when money has already been committed to crucial services, and further cuts will end up costing the NHS and the taxpayer more money in the long-term, and run totally counter to the government’s claim to support more investment in preventative health.”

The motion also called on the BMA to work with other concerned organisations to campaign against the funding cut.

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