Government Business 29.01

Government Business 29.01

Public health services at risk, say council leaders

The government has announced that England will fully return to Plan A on 27 January thanks to the success of the booster programme.

This means the advise for working from how is removed, face coverings will no longer be required by law in any setting, although public health guidance will remain in place, and venues and events will no longer be required by law to use the NHS Covid Pass.

Unsurprisingly, health leaders have warned against the move, saying that caution is still necessary. The Local Government Association has also used the timing of the announcement to raise the issue of a lack of certainty around councils’ public health funding this year, which, it argues, risks exacerbating the growing crisis of demand for support services that has built up as a result of the pandemic.

Council leaders are calling on the government to urgently publish the Public Health Grant funding allocations which councils will receive from April, as coronavirus pressures intensify due to the Omicron surge.

The LGA said time is also running out with councils having to make critical decisions on renewing contracts for vital public health services, including for health visiting, sexual and reproductive health and suicide prevention, potentially leaving people without crucial help and support.

Michael Lyons, editor

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