Barking and Dagenham Council slams £1million health cuts
- Credit: Archant
Health campaigners and councillors have blasted government plans to slash more than a million pounds from the borough’s health budget.
Chancellor George Osborne announced in June that £200m across England would be axed from local-authority-run public health budgets, but a Department of Health consultation has now revealed the full scale of the cuts.
Barking and Dagenham could see £1,037,000 cut from January, but Cllr Maureen Worby, cabinet member for adult social care and health, insisted the council will work hard to minimise the impact on the most vulnerable residents.
“Every local authority in the country is going through this process right now, and it’s an invidious task,” she said. “No-one wants to make these cuts.
“We are at a loss to understand why, when the government is putting an extra £8billion into the NHS to provide a service when people become ill, they are taking money out of the public health service that focuses on prevention of illness.
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“We do not think it’s reasonable that health services provided through local councils are being treated less favourably, in fact, it is extremely short-sighted, as prevention work will save money – and lives – in the longer term.”
Neighbouring Newham will have £1.9m taken away with Tower Hamlets suffering the biggest setbacks in the capital with £2.2m slashed from their allowance.
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The UK Faculty of Public Health has said that services affected by the cutbacks could include child health services, suicide prevention and domestic violence prevention, drug and alcohol, sexual health, weight loss support, smoking services and wider mental health provision including befriending services for older people.
Marie Kearns, contract manager of Healthwatch Barking and Dagenham, slammed the level of cuts.
She said: “In Barking and Dagenham this could mean a reduction of £5.30 for each person in the borough.
“This compares with £2.84 for Havering residents and £2.90 a head for those living in Redbridge.
“Given the health inequalities that already exist in Barking and Dagenham, these cuts appear to be disproportionate.”
The council announced plans to slash its overall budget by £72million to £80million last month, after the Chancellor outlined measures to cut public sector spending by £17.3bn by 2020 in his Budget last month.