The entire care system could suffer if there are cuts in the upcoming Budget, led by short-term decision making, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) warned.
The emergency Budget, also known as the summer Budget, will be announced on Wednesday and the RCN fears plans to cut £200 million from the public health budget will have a severe impact on these services.
They warn the cuts would only ‘store up’ problems for the future, and increase the burden on acute services at a time of staffing shortages.
Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: “The stakes are extremely high for the entire care system in the UK over the next few years. It is important to continue warning that short-term decision-making is already storing up serious problems for the future.
“Only last month, it was quietly announced that the Government would be taking £200 million from funds spent by local authorities on public health. This is not a side issue in terms of the NHS’s future – it is at the very core of what the NHS must do to survive.
He said that if the cuts are made it could considerably impact the NHS’s ability to deliver seven-day care, as well as halting preventative services, leading to a long-term cost increase.
“Nurses are urging the government and MPs in the Budget debate to heed the evidence for preventative health services and take a long-term, strategic view on how to maintain a workforce and health services can survive for decades, not simply the next financial year,” Carter said.