Labour research has exposed the level of cuts that have hit public health services in Tameside and Stockport.
Since 2013/14, Stockport has seen cuts of 21.5% to sexual health services, whilst no budget increases in Tameside mean, that when inflation is factored in, budgets have effectively been cut. Both Stockport and Tameside have seen cuts to substance misuse and smoking budgets, of 11.12% and 16.5%, respectively.
Years of severe Tory cuts to public health budgets have had a devastating impact. Drug related deaths are at an all time high, obesity rates amongst children are at an all time high, and despite being virtually wiped out in the 1950s following a nationwide vaccination programme, admissions with a primary diagnosis of whooping cough have increased by 59%.
In the UK, smoking caused an estimated 115,000 deaths in 2015, whilst alcohol caused around 7,700 deaths in 2017. In England, there were around 617,000 hospital admissions where obesity was a factor in 2016/17. These preventable factors increase the risk of certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, lung and heart conditions, musculoskeletal conditions and poor mental health. Obesity alone is estimated to cost the NHS £5.1 billion every year, with wider costs estimated to be around three times this amount.
Analysis by the Health Foundation has found that wider health spending will see a £1 billion reduction next year. This will mean reductions to spending across public health, workforce training and capital investment in buildings and equipment of £1 billion.
Prior to 2010, the NHS was experiencing long-term funding increases of 4% per year. The Tories’ unfunded commitment is equivalent to a 3.4% increase, after eight years of austerity and huge cuts to social care.
Andrew Gwynne MP, said:
“Residents of Tameside and Stockport are being failed by this Government.
“The Tories have spent nine years running down our local public services. The Labour Government invested record resources into Public Health to increase life expectancy and narrow health inequalities. Services like smoking cessation, sexual health services and addiction services are a crucial investment in the health and wellbeing of our communities – and cuts are short sighted as it merely cost-shunts extra pressure on our already stretched NHS.
“Real improvements were made across the Denton and Reddish Constituency before 2010, but sadly now things are going backwards. Life expectancy is below the regional and national averages and the gap between the richest and poorest in terms of health outcomes is widening. We need a concerted effort to reinvest in our public health services, not just to improve some of these shocking outcomes but because it’s the right thing to do.”