Media reports that further cuts to local government public health budgets are on the cards as a way of slashing overall health spending should be strongly resisted, Unite said today (November 20).
Unite has 100,000 members in the health service and 70,000 in local government. The union said that if such a move was being contemplated by chancellor George Osborne it smacks of ‘the dodgy economics of Arthur Daley’.
“The public health aspects of the NHS, such as health visiting and school nursing, are being transferred to local authorities,” said Unite national officer for local government Fiona Farmer.
“Already £200m of cuts to the public health budgets have been proposed. If more are planned, they should be strongly resisted.
“Health secretary Jeremy Hunt and communities secretary Greg Clark need to develop some backbone to stand up to George Osborne on this vital issue. The chancellor is fixated by the austerity ideology, regardless of the serious consequences to public health.
“Any cuts to the overall health budget by stealth smack of the dodgy economics of Arthur Daley.”
Farmer maintained public health cuts are a false economy and cuts to health prevention impact heavily on NHS services.
She said, “The cuts to local government – already implemented since 2010 – have been draconian and public health will collapse with a further axing to funding.
“Local councils face a financial meltdown and further cuts could see funds being diverted from public health to deliver basic waste, refuse and social care services.
“It does seem incredibly short sighted to cut primary care which can prevent ill health. This will mean people end up swamping already struggling secondary care yet further.”