In June the Chancellor announced that £200m would be taken from local authorities in January 2016, £23m from the South East region. Services affected by the cutbacks could include school nursing and other child health services, suicide prevention and domestic violence prevention, drug and alcohol, sexual health, weight loss support, smoking cessation services and wider mental health provision including befriending services for older people.
The RCN has already spoken out against these cuts and are now calling for the plans to be dropped altogether as analysis by the Faculty of Public Health has identified that the knock on cost to the NHS could be in excess of £1bn.
The RCN has signed a joint letter to the Chancellor from the Academy of Royal Colleges calling for the measure to be dropped in the Comprehensive Spending Review on 25 November.
The letter says that “reversing the proposed cuts will relieve pressure on our overburdened NHS, tackle inequalities and improve people’s health and wellbeing.”
Jeannett Martin, RCN South East Regional Director said:
“The Government cannot say that they are protecting the budget for the NHS and at the same time make huge cuts to council-run health services which are there to keep people well and out of hospital. The NHS in the South East will end up paying for these savings many times over.
These plans will also disproportionately hit poorer communities in harder to reach areas and will make health inequalities worse.
If the Government really wants to put prevention at the heart of health care then the Chancellor should think again and withdraw these damaging proposals when he announces the spending review in November.”
The cuts the Government proposes to make for each South East Council in January 2016 are as follows:
Local Authority Indicative cash reduction for 2015/16
Bracknell Forest 237,000
Brighton and Hove 1,290,000
East Sussex 1,709,000
Isle of Wight 453,000
Milton Keynes 674,000
West Berkshire 356,000
West Sussex 2,048,000
Windsor and Maidenhead 277,000
South East Region 23,749,000