A new study of health and social care spending has found that the Government focuses too much on acute services rather than investing in long-term preventative measures.
The report, published by the Health Foundation charity, found that between 2015/16 and 2020/21 spending on the NHS is expected to have grown by 12% on a real terms per head basis, compared with a 25% cut in the public health grant.
It argued that the ‘significant’ spending reductions to the grant since 2010 meant that the Government was ‘storing up significant problems for the future’.
Director of health at the Health Foundation, Jo Bibby, said: ‘Despite the health secretary naming prevention of poor health as a top policy priority, our analysis shows that spending on prevention has been de-prioritised in recent years, with a failure to invest in people’s health long-term.
‘No Government should want to see inequalities widen on their watch, but this will be the consequence of continued under-investment in areas such as children’s services, housing and social security - all of which are vital in maintaining and improving people’s health and wellbeing.
Among a number of recommendations, the charity called on Whitehall to re-invest in the public health grant as an 'immediate priority’.