This site is intended for health professionals only

Councils ‘will not meet’ public health spending targets

14 January 2013

Share this article

Two thirds of local authorities in England will not have enough money to meet public health spending targets, figures from the Department of Health (DH) have shown.

Despite real term increases of up to 10% on the budgets for 2013-14 and 2014-15, the boroughs “won’t be able to meet their targets”, Nicola Close, chief executive of the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) told the British Medical Journal.

“We would have liked everyone to have had the money they needed to meet the target straightaway, but that would have meant a significant increase of around £1.2bn more,” she said.

The overall budget for public health services managed by England’s 152 local authorities will be £2.7bn in 2013-14 and just under £2.8bn in 2014-15.

However the figures for individual local authorities show wide variation in spend per person.

Altogether 99 authorities will fall short of their targets by 2014-15, by less than 1% in the London borough of Hillingdon, for example, to as much as 43% in its immediate neighbour to the west, Slough, in Berkshire.

Close said: “The figures are based on historical [primary care trust] spend, and it’s about moving that to the formula developed by ACRA [the Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation]. It will take several years before spending reaches the target based on the formula.”

But she said the allocations were “good news, overall.”