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BMA calls for government to “stop misleading patients”

7 July 2015

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The government must reverse its plan to slash public health funds and stop misleading patients over the likely impact on frontline services, the BMA said in a letter to chancellor George Osborne.

Osborne originally announced the £200m public health cuts in early June.

In a letter sent to the chancellor yesterday, Dr Porter warned that further reductions would leave public health services in England “gutted and unable to cope”.

In the letter, the BMA criticises the way the cuts were presented, as to ‘non-NHS’ services such as sexual health, school nursing and drug addiction.

Porter said: “The public does not regard these services as “non-NHS” and the use of this term appears to be a deliberate attempt to deflect attention and mislead them about the true nature of these cuts.”

“The BMA believes that this cut to the public health grant, which will inevitably lead to service reductions, will, in the long term, result in greater costs for the NHS and the taxpayer,” Dr Porter writes.

He said that the announcement in June contradicts the government’s claim to support more investment in preventive health and “is also at odds with the prime minister’s specific desire to ‘get rid of unnecessary demand for the NHS by investing in public health”.