Fairer Funding for Enfield’s public health
How is it fair that although Enfield has some of the most poverty-stricken public health wards in the country, its grant is the 10th lowest in London at £47 per head compared with the London average of £73?
How is it fair that other much wealthier boroughs get much more than us per head of population?
- Kensington & Chelsea gets £128
- Hammersmith & Fulham £124
- Westminster £118.
To make it worse, the Department of Health and Social Care is again cutting its grant to Public Health Enfield which will affect everyone from toddlers to the elderly.
This grant, which can’t be touched by the council, is being cut by 3.6% or £400,000 for the coming year, making a total 8.4 % reduction since 2016-17. The annual grant for public health was then £17.708million. In 2019-20 it will be £16.38 million – a cut of £1.32 million or 7.48%.
Local authorities are required by law to provide open access sexual health services and about 30% of Enfield’s budget goes on this service. The majority of grant spend in Enfield is on the mandated commissioned services: sexual health, fighting drugs & alcohol abuse, health visiting and school nursing and NHS Health Checks. Other public health services include smoking cessation, weight management and physical activity.
The Over 50s Forum has been fighting for more than a year to raise this issue with the council, MPs and relevant ministers. This is not an issue that affects only older people – far from it. But the Forum has always recognised that we want to work for the improvement of services to people of all ages in the borough.
We organised a petition that gained 10,000 signatures and we also organised a letter-writing campaign that won us a debate in Westminster Hall with the then Minister of Public Health Seema Kennedy. Enfield MPs Joan Ryan and Bambos Charalambous spoke in support of our arguments that Enfield is not being treated fairly.
Ms Kennedy explained that the level of funding is the result of a funding formula that was set in 2013 when the responsibility for public health was moved from the Government to local councils. The amount was based on NHS funding at the time.
We know that this funding formula is under review and the new Minister of Health Jo Churchill MP has now conceded the justice of our campaign saying: “We want local government funding to be decided in a fair, robust and evidence-based way, reflecting the most up-to-date evidence on councils’ relative needs and resources.”
The Forum will continue to press the case with this administration and with any future administrations that come into government after the anticipated election later this year.