Council writes to Minister over in-year cuts to the Public Health grant
The Council’s deputy leader has written to the Minister for Public Health, expressing his disappointment over its in-year cut of £773K to the Council’s Public Health grant.
This in-year cut is forcing the Council to axe free swimming for over 50s from January.
At a meeting of the Council’s Cabinet last night, it was decided that the free swimming for the over 50s initiative, introduced earlier this year, would have to be stopped.
The NHS’s own plans say that more should be invested in preventative health measures such and move away from expensive treatments for potentially avoidable conditions.
That’s why the Council introduced free swimming for the over 50s this April as a key public health initiative, aimed at improving wellbeing in later life.
Nearly 50 per cent more people aged over 50 have participated in swimming as a result of the offer with the number swim by over 50s increasing by 37 per cent.
The letter to the Minister, Jane Ellison MP, says that reducing funding for prevention will result in a less healthy population, increased health inequalities and increased demand for high cost health and care services.
Councillor Richard Overton, Cabinet Member for Housing, Public Health and Protection, said: “One of our initiatives after the election was to introduce free swimming for the over 50s. We believe that the public health outcomes it delivers for older people means it lessens the impact on NHS services locally.
“I have written to the Public Health Minister to say that we are not happy to be making this cut.
“Since April, when the initiative was launched, over 3,000 people have participated in the free swimming for the over 50s. That is a 50 per cent increase in the number of people using it before the free swimming.
“I would ask these 3,000 people to write to their MPs to say this is unfair on Telford & Wrekin Council, this is a good initiative and we want it to be reinstated.”