RPS English Board rejects proposals to cut public health funding

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society English Board is strongly opposed to the Government’s planned £200 million reduction in public health grants across England and does not believe this proposed cut in funding should go ahead.
In its response to the Department of Health’s consultation the RPS has called for a reversal of the decision to cut public health allocations for 2015/16 and calls instead for the grant to be ring-fenced and protected against any future reductions.
Chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board Sandra Gidley said: “Public health grants enable local authorities to work with local healthcare providers, including pharmacists, to provide key early intervention healthcare services which are proven to be successful in helping people lead healthier lives. Services designed to fight obesity, poor diet, smoking, lack of exercise and excessive alcohol consumption in communities around the country are all supported by this grant and all will be severely impacted if this proposed cut goes ahead. 
“The RPS English Board believes losing these services is highly likely to lead to an increase in the number of people with long term health conditions and ultimately increased pressure on social care services and the NHS. We also believe the proposed grant reduction completely contradicts the public health improvement vision set out in NHS England’s Five Year Forward View and that disinvestment will lead to long term increase in NHS costs.
“The RPS English Board would like to see the government strengthening public health provision rather than curtailing spending in this vital area, enabling the skills of community and ‘healthy living’ pharmacies to fulfil their key role in supporting the public’s health. Community pharmacies situated in convenient locations are an important healthcare provider for people, particularly those living in areas of high levels of deprivation and ill health. Skilled Healthy Living Pharmacy teams are providing a very positive impact on supporting healthier communities as well as providing cost-effective support to GP surgeries and other areas of the NHS.
“The RPS English Board has heard that the proposed cut to public health funding is already preventing the launch of further pharmacy-led healthy living schemes to the detriment of public health. We want to see funding for public health provision reinforced to support existing schemes and enable the desired expansion of this successful and cost-effective model of integrated primary care provision to progress.”