Blackpool health boss warns of budget cuts

Dr Arif Rajpura
Dr Arif Rajpura
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Blackpool's director of public health says he is 'disappointed' with a long term vision  for the NHS set out by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Blackpool's director of public health says he is 'disappointed' with a long term vision for the NHS set out by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Dr Arif Rajpura said Mr Hancock's call for people to take more responsibility for their own health came at a time when Blackpool's public health budget was set to be cut by £500,000 next year.

Addressing the Annual Meeting of the International Association of National Public Health Institutes on Monday, Mr Hancock said he wants to focus more on prevention with people urged to make better choices when it came to limiting alcohol, salt, sugar and fat intake.

But Dr Rajpura said government also needed to play a stronger role by considering policies such as minimum pricing for alcohol.

He told a meeting of the Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) governing body the minister "seemed to think it was all about individual responsibility" but recent successes had been down to policy measures.

Dr Rajpura said: "This is a government cutting the public health grant.

"From next year I have got £500,000 being cut from my budget.

"The disappointing thing for me is that it's taking away responsibility from government adopting policy measures that would have a massive affect on public health.

"I have campaigned for a minimum price for alcohol and removing junk food availability for kids.

"All these things are not being discussed in the same way. Responsibility for public health lies with government as well."