Government plans for preventative health care risk failing without more funding

5 Nov 2018

RCN says cuts to public health budgets threaten the success of plans to keep people well.

Community nurse advising patient at home Health Secretary Matt Hancock has outlined his long-term vision for the NHS, revealing plans to revolutionise the Government’s approach to prevention through a focus on primary and community care services. 

He’s announced plans to release a green paper next year outlining measures to improve prevention of illness. He’s also said that more of the NHS budget should be spent on prevention.

While the RCN agrees that prevention is vital for the future of health care, it argues that this will be impossible to successfully achieve without additional – rather than simply re-allocated – funding to ensure all services are running safely and effectively.  

Helen Donovan, RCN Professional Lead for Public Health, said: “We welcome the fact that the Health Secretary is making prevention a priority, and clearly recognises that a focus on public health will keep people healthier for longer and save the NHS money and resources in the long run.

“But Matt Hancock must realise his plans will start at a disadvantage as local authorities struggle with planned cuts to public health budgets of almost 4% per year until 2021. 

“While it’s clear he sees that prevention isn’t an optional extra, we need to see properly funded, accountable services delivered by a fully staffed nursing workforce backed by adequate resources.”

Page last updated - 04/02/2019