Dagenham and Rainham lose over £5m in public health funding since 2015.

  • thehaveringdaily.co.uk

Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas today writes in the Havering Daily:

Analysis from the Labour party and verified by the House of Commons Library has found that Barking and Dagenham has lost £3.64m in funding for local public health services over the last five years, and Havering has lost £2.24m, which equates to an average cut of 17% overall in the constituency of Dagenham and Rainham, or 22% per person (all real terms). 

Cuts to public health budgets across Dagenham and Rainham have meant that public health teams have had to make difficult decisions about where they spend their money, alongside carrying out vital work to control the spread of Covid-19, including local outbreak planning, and crucially, promotional work to support the vaccine rollout.

In 2021/22, the public health team (like all other public health teams in England) also took on responsibility for costs associated with the provision of the anti-HIV drug pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and services related to it. 

Local public health teams are also responsible for stop smoking services, sexual health services, health checks, public mental health, drug and alcohol services, children’s public health services, programmes to tackle obesity, amongst other key public health programmes. Their work is crucial because it supports people across Dagenham and Rainham to stay well and helps prevent health problems.

The combined real terms cut of £5.88m to the team’s funding across the two local authorities fails to prioritise this vital work, despite public health staff having spent almost two years working flat out to tackle the worst public health crisis in living memory. 

In last month’s Autumn Budget and Spending Review, the Government announced no real terms change to the total public health grant, which means no more funding for local public health teams in 2022/23.

Commenting, Jon Cruddas MP said: “I know the public health teams in my constituency have worked incredibly hard to keep us all safe during the pandemic, and I’m grateful to them for everything they have done. It beggars belief that despite their hard work, the services they run have experienced such devastating cuts. The words ‘Levelling Up’ will mean nothing unless the Government invests in public health and prevention, which is key to improving people’s lives and keeping them healthy for longer.”

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