The Health Select Committee today publishes its report Public health post-2013, which considers the impact of the Health and Social Care Act reforms on the public health landscape.
Responding to the report, Dr Jo Bibby, Director of Strategy at the Health Foundation, said:
'Cuts to public health budgets are a false economy, as today’s report rightly states. Good health and wellbeing are the foundations of a prosperous society and need sustained investment. The failure to tackle preventable health problems is driving up costs to the NHS, increasing demand for public services and damaging productivity.
'In line with the prime minister's stated aim to reduce health inequalities, action needs to be taken to ensure those in the most deprived communities, whose health is already the poorest, do not suffer most as a result of wider reforms to local government funding.
'The Committee’s recognition that health is not solely the responsibility of the NHS is also absolutely right, and we strongly support its recommendation that Cabinet take greater responsibility for ensuring health implications are considered across all policies. At present, health impact assessments in government policy making are often sadly little more than a tick-box exercise.'
Creina Lilburne, Media and Public Affairs Manager, Telephone: 020 7257 8027
Notes to editors
The Health Foundation estimates that spending for public health in local authorities will drop from £3.5bn in 2015/16 to £2.9bn by 2020/21 (2016/17 prices) if projections for the public health grant issued as part of the 2015 Comprehensive Spending Review are maintained. [See chart below]
It is estimated that only 40% of the burden on health services in England may be preventable through action on the determinant of health, but only around 4% of the health budget is spend on prevention. (Ref: A Healthier Life for All, p.38)