CASH CONCERNS: The county’s health budget is set to be slashed Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA
A total of £200 million in savings has been identified on non-NHS services across the country, with about £2.2 million expected to be cut from Surrey’s budget.
The news comes as council leader David Hodge warned of further cuts to council services. But the Lib Dem opposition on the county council have condemned this latest round of budget reductions.
Member say the non-NHS budgets for the health service relieve pressure on hospitals and clinics by “helping people to solve their potential health problems before they become more serious”.
It is also claims the cuts could damage efforts to get people to exercise more, give up smoking or tackle addiction.
Lib Dem leader Hazel Watson said: “These planned cuts to Surrey’s public health budget will mean that when local residents try to make positive changes for their health and seek out help it is less likely to be there for them. Cutting the budget in the middle of the financial year means delivering these cuts will be even more difficult.
“Liberal Democrats say these are the wrong cuts, made in the wrong way. The public health budget is an important support system for our NHS, helping people to tackle their own health problems before they become more serious and require hospital treatment. The truth is that the Conservatives’ planned cuts are a false economy which will only end up costing the Government and the NHS more than is saved.”
If the planned cuts go ahead, it would mean Surrey’s public health budget would be cut from £35,505,000 to £33,304,000. In 2013, the county council became responsible for a number of public health functions in Surrey.
These include advising bodies such as schools, nursing homes and the police about ongoing issues, advising Clinical Commissioning Groups and improving public health.
Among other things the council is involved with public dental health, obesity and weight reduction services, sexual health services, stopping smoking, drug and alcohol support services and mental health and wellbeing.