Ninety per cent of councils cutting services aimed at preventing illness

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3rd May 2018 14:37 - Health

Ninety per cent of councils cutting services aimed at preventing illness: Funding has been cut to public health services by 90% of councils, putting greater pressure on GPs, an investigation has found.
Services such as sexual health clinics, drug and alcohol treatment programmes and help to quit smoking services have had their funding dramatically reduced or even stopped in some cases.
The research by GP publication, Pulse, surveyed 80 councils to compile the data, which has caused doctors to warn the situation will put additional strain on an already stretched National Health Service.
Council cuts to preventative health services
The service to experience the greatest cuts by councils is drug and alcohol treatment services – with 87 per cent of councils cutting funding. Funding for these services has been reduced by 3 per cent (on average) and was also subject to a 6 per cent cut in 2017. 
Funding to sexual health clinics has been cut by 83 per cent of councils and by an average of 2 percent this year, with funding cut by 5 per cent just 12 months ago. 
Smoking services have also been cut by 73 per cent of councils, although this is largely the same as it was last year, while many weight-management services have been stopped altogether. 
Chairman of the British Medical Association's GP committee, Dr Richard Vautrey, said: "Practices are all too often left picking up the pieces and patients are losing the option of access to important services in their area.
"Ultimately these short-sighted cuts will cost the NHS in the long run as we don't properly invest in prevention and health promotion."
Between 2015-2017 the public health grant for England was slashed by around 10% and in 2019-20 from £3.5 billion to £3.34 billion. 

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