Council rejects Government public health funding plans


Lewisham Council. Pic: Wikimedia

Lewisham Council. Pic: Wikimedia

Lewisham Council has slammed the Government’s proposal to cut millions from public health funding, saying it would adversely affect ‘public health goals’.

The Department of Health (DH) plans to cut £200 million from public health funding in the current financial year, which could see almost £1.5m cut from Lewisham’s budget.

The DH has been asked to deliver savings of £200 million in 2015/16 through reductions to the Public Health Grant to local authorities as part of wider Government action on deficit reduction. The Department’s consultation set out possible options on how the £200 million savings might be spread across councils.

Lewisham Council spends most of its current public health funding on contracts with the NHS. They include things like sexual health services, detection and prevention of cancers, weight management programmes and immunisation programmes.

The consultation was conducted during August and responding to it, Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny committee Councillor Alan Hall wrote: “Plans to reduce public health allocations in year directly contradicts the statement in the NHS plan: ‘the future health of millions of children, the sustainability of the NHS, and the economic prosperity of Britain all now depend on a radical upgrade in prevention and public health.’

He added: “Imposing public health savings of this order within year will undermine our effectiveness and reduce our capacity to work with our NHS partners in prevention and public health and so will damage the long-term partnership needed to achieve public health goals.”

The response was submitted by the Council following a special meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Business Panel with the unanimous support of the Council’s elected members.

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