Tuesday 27 November 2018 / 12:01 AM Health / Jonathan Ashworth

Labour demands ‘short-sighted’ per head public health cuts are reversed to ensure Long Term Plan fully delivers for patients

Labour is today publishing new House of Commons Library analysis exposing devastating public health cuts per head under the Tories.

Between 2013/14 and 2016/17, budgets for stop smoking services & interventions have been slashed to just £2.09 per head- a 36% cut. Sexual health promotion, prevention and advice services have received a 29% cut per head- down to just £1.23.

Tory cuts are set to continue, with planned expenditure between 2017/18 and 2018/19 set to involve a further £22% cut to stop smoking services & interventions- leaving expenditure at just £1.92 per head in 2018/19.

Similarly, specialist drug & alcohol misuse services for children and young people are set to fall to a mere £3.37 this year-a 17% drop from 2017/18.

Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, will today challenge the Health Secretary to reserve cuts to public health, workforce and capital budgets- arguing that otherwise the NHS Long Term Plan cannot fully deliver for patients.

These cuts follow a string of damning evidence in recent months demonstrating the cruel impact of years of Tory cuts to health budgets:

  • Improvements in life expectancy have stalled, with the ONS saying the UK’s slowdown is second only to the US among developed nations
  • Drug related deaths in England and Wales have hit an all-time high.
  • Rates of smoking among pregnant women have risen for the first time on record.
  • Obesity rates among year 6 children have hit a record high.

Earlier this year, Labour revealed that these devastating Tory health cuts are forcing 85% of councils to reduce their public health budgets this year.

According to the Health Foundation, day to day spending on the wider health budget will fall by £1bn in real terms next year.

Responding to Labour’s new research, Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health and Social Care, Secretary, said:

“These deep cuts to public health services are completely short-sighted and will only lead to wider pressures on the NHS and adult social care services.

“Ministers who boast of their commitment to prevention won’t be taken seriously whilst at the same time cutting vital services that support pregnant mothers, help people stop smoking or tackle sexually transmitted infections and substance misuse.

“Not only are these cuts completely misguided, they also shamefully mean some of the most vulnerable in society are failed again as they go without treatment and support.

“These latest cuts – part of a package of £1 billion worth of cuts to health services next year – must be reversed in the imminent NHS Long Term Plan.

“With health inequalities widening and life expectancy even reversing in some of the most deprived areas we should be expanding public health services not slashing them further.

“Labour would fully fund public health services, target health inequalities and prioritise the health and wellbeing of every child.”