Population Matters

United Kingdom public health spending cuts

United Kingdom public health spending cuts

The latest budget of the United Kingdom government calls for spending cuts of approximately £4.5 billion (US $6.9 billion) to reduce public debt. Although the budget of the National Health Service (NHS) is not affected, public health funding that is devolved to local councils is cut by about £200 million (US $306 million).

Couple visiting a health clinic

According to the Faculty of Public Health, despite the ring-fencing of the NHS budget, the cuts are a “potential disaster for the NHS” because costs it incurs will significantly increase.

We have issued a briefing in which we point out that a key aspect of public health provision is sexual and reproductive health services and that the Local Government Association has warned that these services will inevitably be negatively affected by the cuts.

According to the Advisory Group on Contraception, reduced access to sexual and reproductive health services results in increased unintended pregnancy and abortion rates. The United Kingdom already has the highest rate of unintended pregnancy in Europe. The government should work to reduce the rate rather than make spending cuts that could very well exacerbate the problem and thereby increase costs.

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