This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Public health cuts will ‘have a devastating impact’ on the UK

Written by: | Published:

Public heath cut again Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth described cuts as 'shortsighted, cynical and wrong'

Cuts to public health budgets are impacting on efforts to tackle obesity, reduce smoking and improve children’s health, new figures show. Councils across the UK have spent £96m less this year than last on a range of preventive measures. Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, said the cuts would ‘have a devastating effect on the longer-term health of the nation.'

‘Cuts to sexual health, stop smoking and drug misuse services will save money in the short term, but will cost far more over coming decades.’

A Labour Party analysis of the figures released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government found that 130 of 152 local councils are spending less than they did in 2017-18. By 2021 it is estimated that ministers will have chipped away £800m from public health budgets. Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said the country faced ‘a public health crisis’.

‘When drug related deaths are at their highest ever, when rates of STDs are rising, when more children are leaving school obese than ever before and when improvements in life expectancy have slowed, then these swingeing cuts to public health budgets are shortsighted, cynical and wrong,’ he said.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said its strategy was working, claiming: ‘Significant improvements in public health since 2010, with robust government action leading to a fall in rates of smoking and drug use.’

‘There is always more to be done, which is exactly why we are giving £16bn to local councils to fund public health services over the current spending period. We’re supporting them with our world leading childhood obesity plan alongside measures to halve child obesity by 2030, and work is underway to develop a new alcohol strategy.’

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.



Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code

Read a free issue from Practice Nursing

Register to read a free issue from our sister publication, Practice Nursing.

Including articles on asthma, diabetes and more. Read your copy.


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.