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NHS commissioning and funding

Most deprived areas in the UK bear the brunt of public health cuts, finds report

Cuts to public health budgets have been six times larger in the UK’s most deprived areas compared to cuts made in the country’s least deprived areas, a report has found.

The report, published by think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) on 5 November 2019, found that the ten most deprived areas of the UK, according to government data, have lost approximately £0.35 for every £1.00 of their budget between 2014/2015 and 2019/2020.

This compares with the ten least deprived places losing approximately £0.20 for every £1.00.

The ten most deprived local authorities — Blackpool, Manchester, Knowsley, Liverpool, Barking and Dagenham, Birmingham, Hackney, Sandwell, Kingston upon Hull and Nottingham — have seen their combined budget for smoking cessation services cut by 52% (£7.7m) over the five-year period.

Meanwhile, in the ten least deprived areas — Wokingham, Windsor and Maidenhead, Surrey, Rutland, Buckinghamshire, Richmond upon Thames, West Berkshire, Bracknell Forest, Kingston upon Thames and South Gloucestershire — smoking cessation services saw their combined budget fall by just 8% (£1.7m) over the same period.

A Freedom of Information request by The Pharmaceutical Journal in January 2018 revealed that nearly a fifth of local authorities in England decommissioned community pharmacy-led smoking cessation services in the previous three years.

Overall, the IPPR report estimated that local authorities spent £871.6m less on public health services in 2019/2020 compared with 2014/2015, with the ten most deprived areas having borne almost 15% of the cuts.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20207301

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