‘Scrooge’ health minister called out by Council leader

Council leader Tudor Evans has accused the health minister of being the ultimate Christmas ‘Scrooge’ by ‘sneaking’ in £85 million cuts to public health funding on the last day of the parliament.

The Public Health team in Plymouth is now being forced to make £405,000 cuts for essential services that help our local population to live as healthily and happily as they can; such as health visitors and school nurses, sexual health treatment and contraception, drug and alcohol treatment, smoking cessation and other health improvement activities.

Council leader Tudor Evans said: “They have sneaked this in while everyone was arguing over lip-reading.

“These are the services that help give some of our families a better start.

“These are the services that give people a hand up when they sink into difficulties – and abject misery – caused by alcohol and drug misuse.

“And these are the very services that the Government said were so important for long term prevention and to ease pressure on the NHS.”

He added: “What a Christmas message for Plymouth and those looking for help. Just when you think things couldn’t get more dire, this happens. The health minister Steve Brine is the ultimate Christmas Scrooge.”

In April 2013, public health functions were transferred from the NHS to local authorities who assumed responsibility for sexual health treatment, testing, contraception and advice, substance misuse services, NHS Healthchecks, smoking cessation and other health improvement activities, and later Health visitors and school nurses.

That year Plymouth was underfunded by £12 a head (£43 compared to £55 per head). Despite lobbying, Plymouth has consistently been awarded less per head than other cities.