Mark Whitehead 21 March 2023

Local health chiefs warn of ‘second health emergency’

Local health chiefs warn of ‘second health emergency’  image
Image: ESB Professional/Shutterstock.com.

The increase in costs of essential food items and energy has created a ‘second health emergency’ after the COVID pandemic, local health chiefs have warned.

The Local Government Association (LGA) and the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) said the rising cost of living is having significant health consequences, particularly in communities which already suffer higher levels of deprivation.

In their Annual Public Health report the two organisations say people with the least financial resilience are affected the most, but increasing numbers of people who were previously ‘just about managing’ now need support.

They say that despite the best efforts of councils and their directors of public health they are concerned that current health inequalities could be widened.

The report, published at this week’s virtual Annual Public Health Conference, marks the 10th anniversary of the transfer of public health responsibilities to local authorities.

Councils are calling on the Government to make long-term increases to local public health funding to support communities who need it the most.

Last week the Government announced that the public health grant will be £3.5bn. However, this was criticised by the LGA as ‘insufficient’ in the face of ‘soaring demand’.

David Fothergill, chairman of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, said public health services such as for sexual health or school nurses continue to face ‘challenging financial circumstances’.

‘To address this, the Government should provide long-term funding increases to public health services, which do so much to improve health outcomes in our local communities.’

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