Our response to public health funding announcement

In response to the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Heath and Primary Care’s statement on public health allocations for 2018-19, Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, said:

“The government today confirmed it is reducing its spending on the public health grant to local authorities to £3.1 billion over 2018-19, down from £3.5 billion in 2015-16. This is the latest year-on-year cut as part of the government’s plan to reduce the size of the public health grant by an average of 3.9 per cent in real terms every year until 2020.

“Public health spending has a vital role in promoting good health and preventing problems from developing, hence bringing long-term savings. At a time when NHS services are severely overstretched, the public health grant has a more important role than ever in easing the burden on services and helping to build a more sustainable health service.

“Cuts to public health put at risk the already negligible amount of funding that goes towards public mental health. The British Medical Association reports that local authorities allocated just 1.6% of their total public health budget on mental health over 2018-19, while 32% of local authorities that provide public health services spent nothing at all on public mental health in 2016-17 and 2017-181​.

“In order to achieve the much-needed genuine parity of esteem – in practice as well as in rhetoric – between mental and physical health, much more needs to be achieved in the realm of public mental health and prevention. This is simply not possible in the context of year-on-year cuts to this vital resource.

“We urge the government to reverse the cuts to public health and increase investment in public mental health. As a country, the health and wellbeing of our population is our most valuable resource and we need to invest in it realise its full potential.”

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  1. British Medical Association. (2018). Tackling the causes: Promoting public mental health and investing in prevention. Retrieved from: https://www.bma.org.uk/collective-voice/policy-and-research/public-and-population-health/mental-health/promoting-mental-health-and-prevention