Birmingham’s public health budget has been cut by almost £6 million after The Department of Health confirmed a 6.2 per cent blanket cut for all top-tier local authorities.
And, while vowing to do everything possible to protect the most vulnerable, the city’s health bosses have warned the cuts, first outlined by the Chancellor in June, will increase pressure on the NHS, eventually costing far more than is saved.
The confirmation that all top-tier local authorities will face a cut of 6.2% to their public health budgets means Birmingham faces a shortfall of £5.7 million.
That will result in a review of services including school nurses and lifestyle support for people who want to quit smoking or be more physically active.
Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, Cllr Paulette Hamilton, said: “I’m saddened but not entirely surprised by this news.
“In Birmingham we already face major health inequalities and have many more challenges than other areas, especially the more affluent parts of the country.
“This cut will inevitably mean less preventative work and I have no doubt that these short-sighted cuts will end up costing the government, local authorities and the NHS far more than is saved.
“Services like our excellent Stop Smoking team not only save lives, they also save money in the long run and prevention is more important than ever if we want to reduce pressure on the NHS.”
Director of Public Health, Dr Adrian Phillips, added: “This cut comes in addition to changes in the way Government funds local authorities that already mean a reduction in our public health budget of £3.5 million. We’ll do everything we can to protect services but the enormity of these cuts will inevitably affect the most needy in Birmingham.”