Monday, 26 October 2015

Cambridgeshire County Council’s Public Health budget proposals announced

Proposed options on the savings Cambridgeshire County Council need to make to meet unprecedented financial challenges were announced today (26 October).

As part of this, proposals for the Public Health budget were announced and will be discussed at the Council’s Health Committee on 5 November.

The announcement outlines suggested savings of £511,000 for Public Health for the financial year 2016/17.  Although significant savings need to be made, the proposal puts local communities’ health as a priority with key services retaining investment.  Proposed areas of savings include:

  • Sharing a Director For Public Health with Peterborough City Council, which is already being piloted
  • Stop smoking services – an under spend is predicted because of the fall in take up of smoking cessation services thought to be due to the reduced rates of smoking recorded in Cambridgeshire and to the use of e-cigarettes. Stop smoking services remain one of the best value interventions to improve people’s health – so services will continue to be proactive and accessible.
  • Sexual Health Services – Savings are predicted on use of sexual health clinics outside the county by Cambridgeshire residents. Local residents now have access to community sexual health clinics run by Cambridgeshire Community Services (CCS) and located at venues around the county.   

The announcement comes at a time when Cambridgeshire County Council is facing a major financial challenge to find £41 million in savings this year and over £100 million in the next five years. Although the financial picture is bleak Councillors are committed to meet the savings while doing their best for the diverse Cambridgeshire communities they serve.

Councillors in the Health Committee will now look at initial proposals of how these savings may be achieved and with officers will be working to mitigate any impact on communities. Although the Committees will endorse the proposals to the General Purpose Committee there maybe changes, and further savings proposals may be necessary.

Dr. Liz Robin, Director for Public Health at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “These proposals suggest an initial way forward for us to meet the unprecedented financial challenge while also meeting the public health challenges we face around smoking, obesity, levels of physical activity and mental health.  These are not easy decisions and we will be working closely with Councillors and officers to review these proposals and to assess any further proposals, while budget plans for 2016/17 are finalised.”

Papers for Cambridgeshire County Council’s Health Committee will be published on 28 October with the Committee taking place on 5 November.