North East public health spending to be slashed

About £15.7m is likely to be slashed from funding to help people in the North East lose weight and quit smoking, according to the Northern Echo.

The Government is poised to cut each local council’s public health budget by 7.8 per cent immediately, in the first round of George Osborne’s post-election cuts.

The move will swipe cash for services such as smoking cessation classes, obesity clinics, school nurses and drug and alcohol treatments.

And it will go ahead despite warnings of an obesity epidemic and evidence that tackling the stubborn causes of ill-health can cut the long-term cost to the health service.

The Chancellor announced a £200m “in-year” cut to public health budgets earlier this month, but did not set out where the pain would fall.

Now The Northern Echo has been told that three options will be set out, possibly as early as this week:

* A 7.8 per cent cut “across-the-board”.

* Steeper cuts for councils deemed to be historically overfunded.

* Taking the entire £200m from local authorities yet to spend the money and with reserves.

Full story – http://northstar.boards.net/thread/120/north-public-health-spending-slashed

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