Devon forced to suspend health checks programme due to budget cuts

County Hall

Posted on: 29 April 2016

In response to media reports, Devon County Council has reiterated what cuts in the Government’s public health funding means for Devon, as the county now ranks 5th from the bottom of all local authorities in terms of public health grant.  

Devon receives £38 per head of population compared to £200 in Westminster, and a national average of £62 per head.  Plymouth receives £62 per head and Torbay £74 per head of population.

On top of the in-year cuts of 6.4 per cent last year, public health grants nationally have reduced 2.2% in 2016/17, with a further 2.5% in 2017/18 and 2.6% in each of the two following years.

Devon’s allocation for 2016/17 is £28,952,000.

New responsibilities including Public Health Nursing have transferred to the Council and are being funded through this year’s grant.

Consequently the settlement represents a reduction of £2.5 million in cash terms.
It’s meant that after three years of a five year programme of providing health checks, the Council has had to suspend the service subject to a review.

Andrea_Davis-100x100Cllr Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, says that this year’s government grant represents a significant reduction to Devon’s public health budget, and substantial savings have had to be made.

“We have suspended the five-year universal Health Check service from 31 March, at the end of Year 3, and a review will be undertaken.  A targeted service will continue for people most at risk of vascular disease, or who do not routinely see their GP – for example routine and manual workers,  people living in deprived communities,  from ethnic minority groups or with mental health issues.

“A new Healthy Lifestyle Service is being established this year, which will be available to support all adults and families, providing advice, information and support on healthy lifestyle.  We are also supporting the national Public Health England One You campaign, which aims to support adults adopt a healthier lifestyle.

“In making these savings, our priority has been to protect public health services and programmes for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in Devon, and for children and young people.  We have had to make some very difficult decisions that have had an impact on public health services, but we have tried to mitigate the impact as much as possible.

Posted in: Health and Wellbeing