Chief Medical Officer calls for support for environmental health services in Wales

Publication Date: 14th October 2015

Subject: CIEH

Julie BarrattIn her final annual report to the First Minster, the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Ruth Hussey, highlights the pressures on environmental health services across Wales and the impact that a reduction in the service will have on health and wellbeing. 

Dr Hussey calls for immediate action to preserve and to build the service, including maintaining experience and knowledge within it and recommends that action should be taken to ensure the sustainability of the service within local government.

Julie Barratt, Director of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Wales, said:

“We very much welcome the Chief Medical Officers’ recognition of and support for the valuable role that Environmental Health teams across Wales play in delivering the preventative interventions that protect health and wellbeing. The Wales Audit Office report ‘Environmental Health: Delivering with Less’ in 2014 recognised that the service in Wales was at a tipping point, and that further cuts would make it unsustainable. Despite this warning further cuts were implemented in 2014/15 and are proposed for 2016/17.

“The actions carried out by Environmental Health services and practitioners protect the public in the immediate term but also reduces pressures on other bodies, such as the NHS and social services, in the longer term.

“We recognise that local government budgets have been cut and that savings have to be made, however it is now the case that the low hanging fruit has been picked and there is nothing left to cut other than front line staff. In the view of the CIEH this is false economy, resulting in reductions in health and wellbeing of individuals and communities, pressures on the NHS and the social care sector and damage to the economy of Wales.

“We call on all of the political parties in Wales to support environmental health services in their forthcoming manifestos and on local government to protect this vital service in the next round of local authority budgets.”

ENDS 

For further comment please contact Julie Barratt, Director CIEH Wales:  

Telephone: 01633 865533                    

Email: j.barratt@cieh.org 

 

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