Premium urged on preventative care budgets

Localis has recommended that ministers should put a premium on preventative care budgets, targeting resources and funding to parts of the country that would benefit most from immediate help.

Urging the government to fully fix cuts to public health funding, the think tank’s new report, Local Practice – long-term sustainability through place-based health, calls for the introduction of a Prevention Premium – modelled after the schools’ Pupil Premium – to support the joined-up delivery of public health in an area.

This would be calculated on population factors such as unemployment rate, numbers of children in low-income families and percentage over-65s as well as lifestyle factors such as smoking, childhood obesity and physical inactivity in adults. As such, research suggests that Blackpool, Hull and North East would benefit most from a prevention premium, followed by four North East areas including Middlesbrough, South Tyneside, Hartlepool and Sunderland.

The report also recommends local authorities should work hand-in-hand with NHS Ttusts in filling gaps for overseas health and care workers after-Brexit, and also urges an overhaul to how we recruit and retain UK born nursing and social care staff in areas where they are most needed.

Jonathan Werran, Localis chief executive, said: “The Spending Round announcement of a real terms increase in the Public Health grant, helping local authorities continue to provide prevention and public health interventions is clearly a welcome step. But funding needs to be restored to 2015 levels as a minimum.

“Local Practice makes this funding case for a stronger place-based health system, offering a pragmatic argument for liberating resources, assets and the huge latent potential that exists within every community for generating greater wellbeing and prosperity. It is a call to rationally manage limited resources and deploy data and new technology for the best results. As such the report offers, we hope, a prescription to astutely integrate agents of health with guardians of place for the sake of delivering the best and most appropriate care to people through all stages of life.”