The government must commit to protect public health budgets the Commons Health Select Committee urged.
In a new report, the group of MPs said that cuts in public health budgets will ‘threaten the future sustainability of NHS services’.
The £200million budget cuts have left local authorities to ‘do more with less. While we have seen examples of innovative practice, local authorities are now at the limit of the savings they can achieve without a detrimental impact on services and outcomes,’ the report said.
Donna Kinnair, director of nursing, policy and practice at the Royal College of Nursing, agreed that ‘cuts to vital preventative work are turning the clock back on public health.
‘Failing to invest in the services that can break the cycle of poor health and deprivation will simply perpetuate gross inequality and damage the lives of many. This has to be recognised and local and national governments should act now to prevent potential public health disasters in the years to come.’
The report highlights concerns that there are not robust enough systems in place to address variations between different local areas. The fact that commissioning for public health services is divided between different public bodies has the potential to create confusion and fragmentation. The Committee recommends that these confusions are resolved quickly.