Magazine article Public Finance

Raids on Public Health Funds 'Will Shorten Lives'

Magazine article Public Finance

Raids on Public Health Funds 'Will Shorten Lives'

Article excerpt

Male life expectancy will drop by three years and female life expectancy by two and a half if the current underfunding of public health programmes continues, the chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, has warned.

In his sternly phrased annual report, Donaldson argues that there is 'strong anecdotal and analytical evidence' that funds meant to tackle public health issues such as smoking, obesity and sexual health are being 'siphoned off and 'raided' to pay for acute services and cover deficits.

'This will cause great harm. It will fail to build the foundations of a healthier population for the future,' he says.

'At its heart is a set of attitudes that emphasises short-term thinking, holds too dear the idea of the hospital bed and regards the prevention of premature death, disease and disability as an option not a duty.'

As well as decreases in life expectancy over the next 20 years, Donaldson predicts that if the trend in underfunding continues, an extra 50,000 people will die prematurely from smoking. …

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