More than £1 million is set to be spent on ‘tackling the root causes of ill-health’ in Sheffield under council spending plans.
The city council’s public health budget adds up to over £31.7 million this year – of which around £1.3m is being handed to new projects.
Schemes include boosting physical activity, encouraging more people to cycle, promoting healthy eating and raising housing standards.
Sheffield’s health scrutiny committee will discuss a spending report by the city’s director of public health, Dr Jeremy Wight, at a meeting next Wednesday.
A new ‘early intervention and prevention’ project, focusing on children and families’ mental health and wellbeing, is receiving £400,000, while £100,000 will be spent on an ‘Eat Well’ campaign.
A £97,000 clampdown on cheap and illicit tobacco and alcohol is being launched, while £55,000 has been set aside for Sheffield’s Move More physical activity drive.
Meanwhile £50,000 is being spent on ‘cycling opportunities’.
The extra money has come from an increase in Sheffield Council’s public health grant from the Government.
A further £1.6m has been generated through the ‘deletion of vacant posts’, and making savings on several contracts such as Sheffield Teaching Hospitals’ sexual health service. Proposals have also been made for the ‘significant downscaling’ of the council’s Healthy Communities Team, from 21 workers to 13.
In 2014/15, around £23.5m is being allocated to existing programmes, including sexual health and the national child weighing and measuring programme.
This sum is being added to with increased investment, such as an extra £175,000 to improve the quality of private rented housing.
“There are also some programmes for which there is a very clear need, and the stopping of which would undoubtedly cause significant adverse health consequences,” says Dr Wight.
“These include the drug and alcohol treatment programmes, weight management, and tobacco control programmes.”
Another £2.1m will be given to council departments to fund services put at risk by cuts to the authority’s overall budget – which includes money to help community groups run libraries.
“Approximately £1.1m is to be spent on a number of new programmes aimed at addressing the root causes of ill health,” Dr Wight added.
“This represents the beginning of a reshaping of the overall public health programme, consistent with the council’s ambition to ‘do things differently’ and become a public health-driven organisation.”
The council took over responsibility for public health last year, following the abolition of NHS Primary Care Trusts.