Analysis released by Labour MP John Healey, verified by the House of Commons Library, shows that both Barnsley and Rotherham have each lost over £3m in funding for local public health services over the last five years. Cuts to public health budgets have forced difficult decisions about cutting back services, while keeping up essential work to control the spread of Covid-19 and promote the vaccine rollout.

The analysis released by John Healey shows Barnsley has lost £3.7m in funding for local public health services since 2015, which equates to a cut of 17.7% or £19 per person. Similarly, Rotherham has lost £3.5m in local public health funding over the same period, which again equates to a cut of 17.1% or £15 per person.

Local public health teams are also responsible for stop smoking services, sexual health services, health checks, public mental health, drug and alcohol services, children’s public health services, programmes to tackle obesity, amongst other key public health programmes. Their work is crucial because it supports people in Barnsley and Rotherham to stay well and helps prevent health problems.

The real terms cut of over £3m in Barnsley’s and Rotherham’s funding fails to prioritise this vital work, despite public health staff having spent almost two years working flat out to tackle the worst public health crisis in living memory.

In last month’s Autumn Budget and Spending Review, the Government announced no change to the total public health grant, which means no uplift in funding for vital public health work next year.

John Healey MP (Wentworth and Dearne) has reacted to these figures and has said:

Our NHS went into the covid crisis short of 100 000 staff and with 17 000 fewer beds than a decade before. The NHS crisis now is because of covid and Conservative Ministers who’ve put the squeeze on health funding for the last ten years and failed failure to recruit the NHS doctors and nurses needed.

Local public health services are vital to help people look after themselves and prevent them becoming seriously ill. Cutting back on this wok puts more pressure on our hospitals.”

You can find the data on public health grants to local authorities on the Government website here.