CIEH Wales warns of budget cuts

Publication Date: 22nd April 2015

Subject: CIEH

At the CIEH Wales annual public health conference a set of posters was launched illustrating the value of environmental health in food safety, health and safety, environmental protection, housing, infectious disease and health protection. Julie Barratt, CIEH Wales director said the colourful infograms were produced by CIEH Wales and the Wales heads of environmental health group.

Ms Barratt explained: ‘They are deliberately big and bold. They are designed to show how we support the priorities of the Welsh government, how we save our partner organisations money and how we benefit the public. What we do is not trivial. Only one of the Welsh government’s 14 priorities is not directly addressed by environmental health.’

Ms Barratt warned delegates that budget cuts are threatening the future delivery of environmental health services in Wales. She said: ‘We are at risk of being cut to the point at which we are unsustainable if we do not do something. We are delivering now, but this is the last point at which we will be able to deliver. This should be a matter of wide concern for the public.’

Ms Barratt said the situation had not improved, since last October’s Wales Audit Office report. The report, Delivering with less, revealed that environmental health budgets had been reduced by 4.2 per cent and staff by 16.4 per cent over the previous three years.

She commented: ‘The loss of 16.4 per cent of staff from a small service is enormous. These are all personal tragedies and have made a significant impact on services, so that we are now at tipping point.’

She said that environmental health suffered from a low-profile, both with the public and elected members, commenting: ‘Nobody is complaining about cuts to environmental health but I suspect that people will be upset when it happens and the implications manifest themselves. I always say to people, “if you had food today, if you drank water, breathed air and live in a house, then an EHO has done something for you”.’

Steve Thomas, chief executive of the Welsh Local Government Association, warned conference that UK public services faced larger cuts in this year’s spending review than in the last three years. He said that with, health, education and social services funding effectively protected, services such as environmental health, housing, transport, libraries and leisure risked being ‘picked off’.

He commented: ‘We have to make sure that environmental health is valued. Now is the time for all of the preventive services to form an alliance. Do we really want to see a public sector that only consists of hospitals, schools and social services?’

Notes to editors: 

  • For media enquiries please contact Steven Fifer on 020 7827 5848 or email s.fifer@cieh.org

About the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH): 

  • The CIEH is the professional voice for environmental health representing over 10,000 members working in the public, private and non-profit sectors. It ensures the highest standards of professional competence in its members, in the belief that through environmental health action people's health can be improved
  • Environmental health has an important and unique contribution to make to improving public health and reducing health inequalities. The CIEH is working to ensure that both in support of government policy and in campaigning for necessary additional measures
  • The CIEH is a leading provider of regulated qualifications and operates in over 50 countries
  • 15Hatfields is the organisation’s sustainable events venue www.15hatfields.com 
  • For more information visit www.cieh.org 
  • Follow the CIEH on Twitter @The_CIEH 
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