Trust calls for public health funding to be priority in Spending Review

Posted on: 5th February 2019

The British Liver Trust joined forces today with 54 other leading health organisations and bodies calling for public health to be a priority in the Government’s spending review.

Vanessa Hebditch, Director of Policy and Communications at the Trust said, “It is great to see the shift in focus in the new NHS Plan towards prevention however this now needs to be backed up by adequate resource. It is only by tackling society issues such as alcohol and obesity through population-wide public health measures will we truly address the root causes of the UK’s liver disease epidemic. We hope the Spending Review will prioritise public health, prevention and the early detection of liver disease.”

The full letter that was organised by the Association of Directors of Public Health and published today in the Times reads as follows:

Sir, the NHS Long Term Plan offers a welcome shift towards a more preventative service, with care delivered both earlier and closer to where people want and need it. However, the NHS is not an island. Transforming the nation’s health and wellbeing means valuing public health too.

Since 2014/15, the Government has cut council public health budgets by £700 million, including £85 million announced just before Christmas for the upcoming financial year. This funding has two roles both vital to keeping people well and out of hospital. Councils deliver frontline health services like drug and alcohol treatment, sexual health, weight management, smoking cessation, health visiting and school nursing and are key to tackling the root causes of ill health locally, such as toxic air, poor housing and high crime.

The success of the NHS plan ultimately rests on the delivery of extra funding for public health - and social care - and bolder national policy action to address inequalities and the social determinants of health. Let us now turn our attention to the Spending Review and make significant and sustainable funding for public health a priority.