Analysis from the Labour party and verified by the House of Commons Library has found that Stockport and Tameside have lost £3.11m and £2.79m respectively in funding for local public health services over the last five years. This equates to a real terms funding cut of 16% for Stockport and 15.1% for Tameside.
Cuts to Stockport and Tameside’s public health budgets have meant that public health teams have had to make difficult decisions about where they spend their money, alongside carrying out vital work to control the spread of Covid-19, including local outbreak planning, and crucially, promotional work to support the vaccine rollout.
In 2021/22, public health teams in England also took on responsibility for costs associated with the provision of the anti-HIV drug pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and services related to it.
Local public health teams are also responsible for stop smoking services, sexual health services, health checks, public mental health, drug and alcohol services, children’s public health services, programmes to tackle obesity, amongst other key public health programmes.
The real terms cut to the team’s funding fails to prioritise this vital work, despite public health staff having spent almost two years working flat out to tackle the worst public health crisis in living memory.
In last month’s Autumn Budget and Spending Review, the Government announced no real terms change to the total public health grant, which means no more funding for local public health teams in 2022/23.
Commenting, Andrew Gwynne said:
“I know just how hard the public health teams in Stockport and Tameside have worked to keep us safe during the pandemic. The fact that they have essentially been abandoned by the Government over the last 5 years is disgraceful.
I’m fed up of hearing the words ‘levelling up’ at every term, but rarely seeing the kind of action required to make this a reality. If the last year and a bit has taught us anything, it’s that proper public health funding is not only key to giving us the tools to tackle major health crisis’ when they occur, but also making sure that people across Denton and Reddish lead healthier lives.
Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care added:
“Our NHS is in crisis and patients are waiting longer for treatment thanks to years of Tory cuts and a failure to recruit the doctors and nurses needed.
In communities across the country the Tories have cut the vital public health services that prevent people becoming seriously ill, ultimately putting more pressure on local hospitals.
To save lives we need to keep people well, but instead public health services are set to be stretched again thanks to this Conservative government.”
Notes to Editors:
Baseline allocation figures for 2015/16 are modelled as published in the 2016/17 allocations to provide an indication of annual change. The figures reflect what might have been allocated in 2015/16 if public health services for children aged under 5 were included in the public health grant, as they were in 2016/17 and later years. These are not the actual allocations local authorities received for 2015/16.