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October 5, 2021
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Joint open letter calling for investment in local public health at the Spending Review

COVID-19 has provided a stark reminder of the value of public health and held a mirror up to the deep health inequalities that exist in society. Deprived and minority ethnic communities, and people with underlying health conditions such as obesity, have been disproportionately affected by severe illness, hospitalisations and deaths.  

For years local public health budgets have been cut, undermining the very system, services and leadership that has been essential to protecting communities during the pandemic. The same budgets will provide the foundation for a healthy and inclusive recovery, but we are deeply concerned that further real-term cuts could be made in the Spending Review.  

New analysis from the Health Foundation, published today, calls for an extra £1.4bn per year by 2024/25 to be provided for local public health budgets in the Spending Review.  

This will mean councils, working with partners like the NHS and the voluntary sector, can deliver good outcomes from frontline cross-sector public health services like drug and alcohol treatment, sexual and reproductive health, physical activity, weight management, smoking cessation, health visiting and school nursing; and provide the necessary public health leadership to address the root causes of physical and mental ill health, such as poor housing, air quality, crime and poverty.

With public health still at the forefront of our minds and the government rightly committed to levelling up, preparing for the next public health threat and building a more prevention-focussed health and social care system, there could not be a more prudent time to increase funding for local public health. The alternative is that future generations will look back and ask, ‘what changed?’ 


Kate Halliday, Executive Director, Addiction Professionals

Dr Richard Piper Chief Executive, Alcohol Change UK

Prof Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair, Alcohol Health Alliance UK

Hilary Evans, CEO, Alzheimer’s Research UK

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)

Dr Maria Bryant, Chair, UK Association for the Study of Obesity (ASO)

Peter Wright, Acting Chair, Association of Chief Environmental Health Officers in England

Cathie Williams, Chief Executive, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services

Prof Jim McManus, Interim President, Association of Directors of Public Health

Dr Tony Jewell FFPH FRCGP, Past President, Association of Directors of Public Health, CMO Wales 2006-2012

Eddie Crouch, Chair, British Dental Association 

Andy Burnham, Chief Executive, British Dietetic Association

John Maingay, Director of Policy and Influencing, British Heart Foundation

Dr Laura Waters, Chair, British HIV Association (BHIVA)

Pamela Healy, Chief Executive, British Liver Trust

Richard Jarvis, co-chair, public health medicine committee, BMA

Helen Marshall, Chief Executive, Brook

Emlyn Samuel, Director of Policy, Cancer Research UK

Andy Bell, Deputy Chief Executive, Centre for Mental Health

Julie Barratt, President, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health

Prof Karen Middleton, Chief Executive, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Oliver Standing, Director, Collective Voice

Dr Hilda Hayo, CEO and Chief Admiral Nurse, Dementia UK

Bridget Turner, Director of Policy Campaigns and Improvement, Diabetes UK

Prof Maggie Rae, President, Faculty of Public Health

Dr Asha Kasliwal, President of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH)

Dr Alice Deasy, Chair, Fairhealth

Matthew Philpott, Executive Director, Health Equalities Group, Food Active

Ailsa Rutter OBE FKC, Director, Fresh and Balance

Kim Roberts, Chief Executive, Health, Exercise, Nutrition for the Really Young (HENRY)

Dr Katherine Severi, Chief Executive, Institute of Alcohol Studies

Prof Patricia Owen, President, Institute of Health Promotion and Education (IHPE)

Alison Morton, Executive Director, Institute of Health Visiting

Erica Roscoe, Senior Research Fellow, IPPR North

Dr Aisling McMahon, Executive director: research, innovation and policy, Kidney Research UK

Councillor David Fothergill, Chairman, LGA Community Wellbeing Board

Simon Blake, CEO, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England

Mark Rowland, CEO, Mental Health Foundation

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive, Mind

Deborah Gold, Chief Executive, National AIDS Trust

Andrea Brown, Chief Executive, National Kidney Federation

Dr Charlotte Augst, Chief Executive, National Voices

Prof Donna Hall CBE, Chair, New Local

Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive, NHS Confederation

Dr Séamus O’Neill, CEO, Northern Health Science Alliance

Caroline Cerny, Alliance Lead, Obesity Health Alliance

Rachel Power, Chief Executive, Patients Association

Mark Santos, Executive Director, Positive East

Tiggy Parry, Charity Director, Project Food

Royal College of Physicians

Niamh Eastwood, Executive Director, Release

Neil Tester, Director, Richmond Group of Charities

Gill Walton, Chief Executive, The Royal College of Midwives 

Professor Rod Thomson FRCN FFPH, Royal College of Nursing

Christina Marriott, Chief Executive, Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH)

Sharon White OBE, CEO, School and Public Health Nurses Association

Paul Najsarek, Solace spokesperson for Health & Social Care

Steve Douglas CBE, CEO, St Mungos

Xavier Brice, CEO, Sustrans

Terrence Higgins Trust

Dr Brian Fisher, Chair, Health Creation Alliance.

Fiona Howie, Chief Executive, Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA)

UK Public Health Network Executive Group

Versus Arthritis

Kate Oldridge-Turner, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, World Cancer Research Fund International

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