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£5.45bn ‘protected’ budget for health services

The Department Of Health last week announced a £5.45bn two-year, ring-fenced public health budget for local authorities and said this marks the first time that public health budgets will be protected, with local authorities taking the lead for improving the health of their local communities.

"This will help drive local efforts to improve health and wellbeing by tackling the wider determinants of poor health,” the department said in a statement.

Building on advice from an independent expert group – the Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation (ACRA) – funding comes into effect from April 2013 and is specifically targeted, for the first time, at those areas with the worst health outcomes.

[quote top=It said] The funding allocations support the Government’s vision of helping people live longer, healthier and more fulfilling lives and tackling inequalities in health [/quote]

In 2013/14 the total budget for local public health services will be just under £2.7bn.  In 2014/15 the budget will be just under £2.8bn.  Every local authority will receive a real terms increase in funding.
Providing a two-year budget will also give local authorities a clearer long-term understanding of their future funding as they prepare to take on their new responsibilities.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Too many people die too early from diseases that can be prevented.  I want more people to be able to look forward to anindependent and active old age and developing high quality public health services is essential to make this a reality.

“By putting local authorities in charge of public health, we are giving them the power,freedom and the funding to tackle the issues that blight their local areas and help improve the lives of their local communities. Improving the health of local people will be at the heart of everything they do – from social care to transport, housing, planning and environment.”