Responding to the government’s open consultation ‘Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s’, David Buck, Senior Fellow at The King’s Fund, said:
‘The shabby way in which this consultation paper was released is disappointing given the significant public health challenges facing the country. The next Prime Minister should move quickly to restore confidence that the population’s health will be a key priority for the new government.
‘The paper is a missed opportunity to build on the success of the sugar tax by taking a bolder approach to using tax and regulation to improve public health. Rather than seeing this as evidence of a nanny state, polling indicates that public support for these kind of interventions is stronger than politicians often assume.
‘The paper includes some welcome initiatives, for example on childhood obesity, mental health in schools and intentions to move towards a smoke-free society. But overall, it falls short of the scale and ambition needed to address the big health challenges we face as a society, including stalling life expectancy and growing health inequalities.
‘Government cuts to public health budgets are leading to reductions in services such as drug treatment, smoking cessation and sexual health services. It is essential that the new government moves quickly to shore up these vital services by finding the £1 billion needed to restore budgets to where they need to be.’
Notes to editors
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The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all.