By Katie Forster
Doctors and health authorities warned of the “devastating” impact of the new cuts on the future health and wellbeing of the nation after the King’s Fund revealed a total of £85m is set to be carved out of local authority allocations for public health. Its latest like-for-like analysis showed that councils in England will spend £2.52bn on public health services in 2017-18 compared to £2.6bn the previous year and once inflation is factored in, will be more than 5 per cent lower in 2017-18 than it was in 2013-14.
Thorrun Govind, a pharmacist at a chemists in Bolton, said the planned cuts are “not good for the country” and would result in greater pressure on front-line NHS services as fewer diseases and harmful behaviours are prevented. Ms Govind said that as well as “supporting and promoting healthy lifestyles”, pharmacies provide vital face-to-face care to people who misuse drugs. “They have somewhere they can trust, we can help support them. They’ll come in for needles a couple of times and we’ll say: ‘Have you thought about coming in for treatment?’” she told The Independent. There are around 87,000 people who regularly inject drugs in the UK, according to the NHS. Pharmacies have run needle exchange services since the late 1980s amid fears of HIV spreading among drug users.
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Thumbnail: Flickr CC eyeimage needle