Further cuts in local government budget will put public health at risk warns Wales Audit Office

Publication Date: 7th May 2014

Subject: Public health

Nick Selwyn, Local Government Manager from the Wales Audit Office, will discuss the preliminary findings of the recent research study that looked at Environmental Health Services in Wales at the ‘Public Health: Underpinning Wellbeing’ conference at the Hilton Hotel, Cardiff on Wednesday 7 May.

The study looked at the impact of cuts to local government spending on the environmental health services in Wales, and at public perception of the service being delivered.

The report shows that the environmental health services run by local authorities in Wales cost less than half of 1% of overall local government spend. Despite costing so little the services delivered are critical to the health and wellbeing of the population of Wales, ranging from inspecting food premises to ensure that food is safe and hygienically prepared, pursuing bad landlords and improving the quality of poor housing, pollution control, protecting the health and safety of people at work and working with other agencies on major initiatives to improve public health, all of which contribute to deliver the Welsh Government’s ambition to improve health and reduce inequalities in Wales. The report shows that budget cuts are impacting on the range of services delivered, some of which, such as pest control are no longer being delivered by some local authorities. It also predicts that there will be further cuts in staffing in environmental health in Wales with consequent loss in both experienced staff and in capacity to deliver.
Speaking ahead of the conference, Julie Barratt, Director of CIEH Wales, said: “Environmental health has often been called a Cinderella service, in that people fail to recognise the job that we do and the impact it has until it is no longer there. The costs to Wales of the service is tiny, less than half of 1 percent of local government spend, but the impact is huge, both from the service delivered and through costs saved to other services as a result of environmental health interventions. We recognise that cuts to local government services are inevitable in the current financial climate however we caution against salami slicing of services that will have a disproportionate impact on smaller departments that deliver an essential service.”
The conference, now in its eighth year, will feature top class international speakers and will be a major debate about how public health should best be delivered. There are many facets to wellbeing and there are many ways in which public health initiatives underpin it.


Notes to editors: 

  • For media enquiries please contact Brian Cowan on 020 7827 5922 or 07721 456727 or email b.cowan@cieh.org 
  • Julie Barratt is available for interviews


About the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health: 

  • 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
  • The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) is a leading provider of regulated qualifications in health and safety, food safety, environmental management, fire safety and first aid and operates in over 50 countries
  • Over 10 million people around the world from the UK to the USA and the Middle East hold a CIEH qualification
  • The CIEH’s clients range from small businesses to multinational enterprises like the InterContinental Hotels Group. We work with governmental bodies in Hong Kong as well as international agencies like the United Nations
  • The CIEH’s 60 qualification training programmes are delivered through a network of over 10,000 registered trainers. The training is developed for the varied skill levels within organisations. They cater to different learning styles and preferences through a series of flexible structures. CIEH qualifications are valued and recognised throughout the world
  • 15Hatfields is the organisation’s sustainable venue www.15hatfields.com 
  • For more information about the CIEH visit www.cieh.org





     

 

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