BASHH Respond To Publication of NHS Long Term Plan
7th January 2019
The Government has today published its Long Term Plan for the NHS in England, a planning document setting out how the £20.5 billion budget settlement for the health service announced by the Prime Minister in summer 2018 will be spent over the next five years. The full document is available online here and a summary version is accessible here.
The Long Term Plan has been developed by health and care leaders and includes commitments to increase the proportion of funding allocated to primary and community services and mental health, alongside setting out a more detailed roadmap for how locally-delivered services will become increasingly integrated through the emergence of Integrated Care Systems across the country.
The document confirms that the ‘funding and availability’ of local Government commissioned preventative health services for the next 5 years, including sexual health, will be decided in the forthcoming Spending Review, currently anticipated for Spring ’19. It also states that the Government and the NHS will ‘consider’ the potential for a stronger NHS role in the commissioning of these local authority services.
Commenting on the publication of the NHS Long Term Plan, President of BASHH Dr Olwen Williams said:
“Whilst BASHH welcome the increased focus on prevention included within the Long Term Plan, the stark reality is that as additional funding is being allocated to other areas of the NHS, public health budgets, which help fund essential prevention-based services, have been persistently cut in recent years. This most recently included an £85m cut announced in December, bringing total real-term cuts to public health to £700 million between 2014 and 2020.
As we have highlighted, these cuts contrast with the Government’s rhetoric on prevention and have come at a time of record demand for sexual health services, explosions in gonorrhoea and syphilis rates and the continued spread of antibiotic-resistant sexual infections. It is essential therefore that the forthcoming Spending Review acknowledges the need to reverse these damaging cuts and ensure that high-quality sexual health services remain available for all those who need them.
BASHH look forward to working with all stakeholders on the consideration of future commissioning plans for sexual health and reiterate the importance of ensuring that services are properly integrated and appropriately funded.”