New Year's Resolutions

We're all trying to live better lives in 2019. But the Conservative Government has a nasty habit that's making it harder for the rest of us to do the right thing...

As I write this column on December 31st, I’m sure many of you, like me, are determined to start the New Year in a healthier way. Whether that involves quitting smoking, drinking less alcohol, getting to a healthy weight or, as I have resolved, doing more regular exercise.

These are great resolutions, not just to make our lives longer, but to give us more years to enjoy living free of illness and disability. It’s also essential for the survival of the NHS. Over half the population in Cornwall is currently classified as “at risk of developing long-term health conditions”, whilst only around 15% are considered to be living a healthy lifestyle, and the sad fact is the NHS is struggling. There simply are not enough doctors and nurses to cope with the increasing workload.

Research has repeatedly shown that all of the changes we resolve to stick to in the New Year are much easier if we’ve got someone to help us. That’s why Cornwall Council tries to do its bit to support people to live healthier lives. Our big plan to save the NHS in Cornwall is to increase spending on these Public Health activities by £20 million. Every pound we spend on supporting people to break their addictions, make better food choices and do more exercise leads to many pounds of savings for the Council, the NHS and the Police.

That’s why I’m so outraged by the announcement made by the Conservative Government on Friday 21st December. On the last day of term, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced an £85 million cut to the Public Health budget! This cut is not just bad health policy, it’s also bad economics. I guess some people just have a harmful addiction to cutting public services. No wonder they did it when they thought nobody was looking…

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