The decline in Public Health

Ask any epidemiologist where we should money on healthcare if we want to provide the best outcomes for patients and maximum cost-effectiveness, and the answer would be Public Health. Yet, that is the precise opposite of what is now happening.

It’s the same old story we’ve seen time-after-time under the Tories. First, devolve a service to local government, then gradually cut all its funding, done right you can cut a service whilst deflecting all the blame onto councils.

Of course, we will do our best on the ground to resource health where we can, despite having lost almost half our income in seven years, but even so Public Health funding is now all-but-gone, raided to fill the growing gap between what the NHS needs and what the Tories are willing to provide. The long-term result will be far more costly to all of us, not only to the NHS in expensive treatments for conditions which could have been avoided in their entirety, but in the human cost: patients left with disabilities they never need have suffered, in loved ones lost.

Yesterday, I wrote to Elizabeth Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, in support of Cancer Research UK’s campaign to stop the Public Health cuts and maintain funding for smoking cessation services. Reductions in smoking have been a real success of government intervention over the years, it would be a tragedy to see this now go into reverse.

There is another way, we can preserve funding for Public Health and doing so will save us all far more in the long-run.

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