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Royal College of Nursing responds to Government's Green Paper on prevention

Press Release 22/07/2019

Royal College of Nursing responds to Government's Green Paper on prevention

Responding to the Government's Green Paper, 'Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020'RCN Professional Lead for Public Health, Helen Donovan,, said:

“Nurses, who are often the first to have a conversation with patient about preventing long term health conditions, were very supportive of the recent shift towards prevention. The RCN has been an advocate of the idea that investing in preventative health keeps people out of hospital, which ultimately saves the health service money in the long term.  But the burden doesn’t fall solely on individuals - government and society have a key role to play in ensuring we stay in good health.

“However, despite prevention being one of the Health Secretary’s three key priorities, we’ve been waiting some time for these plans which appear to have been buried in the dying days of the current Government,  In addition, the plans already start at a disadvantage, as the Health Foundation suggests there will be a 25 per cent cut in public health spending per person by 2020/21.1

“One way to earn the faith of healthcare professionals would be to urgently pledge to restore cuts to the public health grant which local authorities rely on to deliver essential preventative services such as sexual health and smoking cessation services. 

“In addition, the community nursing workforce is unprepared with widespread vacancies and staffing shortages. Cuts to training budgets have stopped nurses from progressing in their career and, until rectified, it’s difficult to see how anything substantial will change.

“In healthcare, our goal is to think of a person’s wellbeing over an entire lifetime, not just in the short term. It’s once again disappointing that short-sighted government policy still doesn’t reflect this.”


 Notes to Editors

1 - Analysis by the Health Foundation shows that the grant, which currently amounts to £3.1bn a year, is now £850m lower in real-terms than initial allocations in 2015/16. With the Spending Review likely to be delayed, key funding decisions will be postponed and as a result, the grant will face a further real-terms cut of £50m in 2020/21 under provisional plans – totalling a 25% cut on a real term per head basis since 2015/16. With population growth factored in, £1bn will be needed to restore funding to 2015/16 levels. -

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