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Plans to slash local authority public health budgets will hit the NHS hard, says RCN

Government proposals to cut public health budgets will have on a knock-on effect on the NHS, RCN general secretary Peter Carter has warned

Nursing leaders have condemned a proposal to cut £200 million from the public health budget as a threat to the NHS.

Commenting on government plans to consult on local authority cuts, RCN general secretary Peter Carter said taking money from local authority budgets would impact heavily on the NHS.

The Department of Health is consulting on plans to cut the public health budget after chancellor George Osborne ordered government departments to make savings of £3 billion this financial year.

Services such as school nursing, smoking cessation, weight management and other health advice are all likely to be affected by the proposals.

'Prevention was rightly at the very heart of the Five Year Forward View,' said Dr Carter. 'By paring it back, the NHS could be throwing away a vital chance to keep people well and preserve its own future. Cuts in this area may be carried out by local authorities but the impact will be felt in the NHS.

‘Many nurses working in public health recognise that the cost of failure in this area is high. Preventable conditions can cause huge personal misery to people and considerable cost to the NHS when things go wrong.’

The RCN would be responding to the consultation, Dr Carter said, but the government needed to plan health strategies for the decade, not just the next financial year.

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