Healthy Lives, Healthy People: Update on Public Health Funding

14 August 2012

ANEC has responded to the Department of Health's ‘Healthy Lives, Healthy People: Update on Public Health Funding' paper which includes the formula recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation (ACRA) on how the health budget for local authorities should be distributed.

In its response, ANEC expresses its concern that the funding proposals outlined will not be sufficient for some local authorities to adequately perform their public health responsibilities into the future, let alone increase investment. Based on the current formula proposals, 10 out of the 12 North East councils will be worse off in funding terms.

The interim funding formula recommended by ACRA, in ANEC's view, would have a regressive impact on the share of public health funding across England. In proportional terms, this formula represents a redistribution of funding share from poorer areas of the country which have greater health pressures to more affluent areas of the country. In this context, the North East would lose 30% of its current share, while the South East, South West and East of England would gain 25%.

ANEC also highlights the fact that the North East has the highest level of health inequalities, which means adequate funding is vital for public health services and issues of need, deprivation and health inequalities.

Case studies from all 12 North East councils clearly demonstrate how effective health interventions in the North East are delivering real health improvements and are fundamentally helping to address inequalities, which have been possible through current levels of public health funding.

Based on this evidence, ANEC is making the case for higher levels of funding provision to be made within North East public health funding allocations for this good work to continue - and, importantly, to ensure momentum is not lost.

The strength of the case made by ANEC has been highlighted by the LGA as ‘compelling' in its own response to ACRA's interim recommendations. The LGA's response concurs that it could be extremely damaging if the effect of change in the funding formula constrains future public health investment in the North East and that there is real value in increasing the level of public health spending devolved locally.

ANEC is offering to work with ACRA and the Department of Health to fully explore the proposals and to work with Ministers and Civil Servants to both consider their implications and explore options that will not disadvantage any area of the country.

View the full ANEC response to the Department of Health including council case studies

View the LGA's response to ACRA's interim recommendations