Conclusions: Investing in health

Moving towards a society that prioritises the maintenance and improvement of people’s health requires far more than investment in the public health grant. However, the grant is an important starting point.

  • It provides a recognition of the importance of health and the need to invest in it.
  • It ensures a greater level of influence for public health directors in local decision making.
  • It allows local areas to play a greater role in determining the best mechanism through which to improve health.
  • It is intended to be distributed in a way that recognises the inequalities between local areas, which partially determine the health of people in those areas.

With the NHS having marked it 70th anniversary in 2018, and with additional investment pledged to ensure it can treat people into the future, it is time for the government to make an important forward move towards improving health, rather than just health care. To back up the rhetoric of putting prevention first and increasing 'upstream' intervention, it must provide the necessary funding to do so. That should start with direct reinvestment in the public health grant so that, like the NHS, current provision can be at least maintained. However, to ensure more than a short-term fix, the impact of local government funding cuts on long-term health should be assessed to make sure we are not storing up health problems for the future.

Previous Next