Proposed cuts to public health services by City of York Council will lead to widening health inequalities in York. The government announcement to cut £200m from the public health budget last year coupled with deep cuts to local authority budgets is now filtering through to cuts to vital health services in York.
York Central MP, Rachael Maskell says:
“I visited Clifton Surgery on Monday to discuss health screening, nothing can be more important than supporting the health of people across our community. It is already worrying that York is below national averages on key health indicators, however these proposed cuts will widen health inequalities and result in worsening health outcomes for the people across the city.
“It is totally unacceptable that cuts are being put ahead of the wellbeing of individuals. Early diagnosis and health prevention save the NHS vast amounts of money, but more importantly saves lives.
“I trust that the City of York Council will reconsider its decision and listen carefully to clinical evidence from medical experts and local doctors at its meeting of the Health and Wellbeing Board on Wednesday 20 January 2016, to safeguard the health of people across our city.”
York’s MP believes that health services across the city are already seriously challenged since the closure of Bootham Hospital last year which she continues to challenge the circumstances surrounding this decision, the insufficient funding of acute health services and the lack of investment in primary care against increasing demands in the service.
Public health services provide vital preventative services that can deliver healthy outcomes for communities and individuals, can lead to early diagnosis of conditions and can literally be life-saving. Proposals by the City of York Council, who have responsibility for Public Health, are seeking to withdraw commissioning for NHS health checks, smoking cessation services and long acting contraception services.
The consequences of these cuts could result in undiagnosed diabetes, cardiac problems, women left with unwanted pregnancies or individuals not having the support in giving up smoking and thus exposing themselves to lung and cardiovascular diseases risks.
York already has an above average number of people who smoke and a poorer than average obesity management programme compared to elsewhere in the UK, therefore more investment is needed in these services.