Portsmouth to lose more than £450,000 in public health funding

Councillor Matthew Winnington, Liberal Democrat. Picture: Ian Hargreaves
Councillor Matthew Winnington, Liberal Democrat. Picture: Ian Hargreaves
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GOVERNMENT funding cuts to public health in Portsmouth will put an additional strain on the NHS, according to a city councillor.

Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet member for health, wellbeing and social care, Cllr Matthew Winnington, has criticised the government after it was announced that public health grant reductions for 2019/20 would still go ahead.

The city is set to have its grant reduced by £470,000.

Cllr Winnington believes that this reduction will impact the NHS in the long-term, as the council battles to keep health and wellbeing issues under control.

He said: ‘It's incredibly disappointing that central government haven't listened to the clear rationale to reverse the proposed cuts to the public health grant for 2019/20.

‘Whilst it's good to see that more is being pledged to the NHS, who clearly can benefit from it, it's perverse to increase funding for them whilst cutting funding for public health as we both work to look after people's health and wellbeing.

‘We know that money taken away from things like stop smoking services, weight management, mental health, substance misuse and sexual health leads to greater pressure on the NHS when people need treatment for poor health linked to these areas.’

But the government insists that it is ‘committed’ to the prevention of these issues, following the health secretary Matt Hancock’s prevention vision – which was published last year.

A spokesperson from the Department of Health and Social Care said: ‘Following the Spending Review in 2015, all local authorities’ public health grants get an equal reduction each year – which is 2.6 per cent in 2019/20.

‘However, we are committed to helping people live longer and healthier lives, which is why the NHS long-term plan – backed by an extra £33bn a year for the NHS by 2023/24 – will have prevention at its heart.’