South Gloucestershire Council’s ruling Conservatives today voted to scrap funding for the Exercise on Prescription scheme – a move that Labour says shows the effect of austerity cuts.
The widely respected Exercise on Prescription scheme allows for health professionals to refer inactive patients for a regime of physical activity as part of managing a range of medical conditions. However, with the council’s Public Health budget being squeezed in the same way as all other services, this scheme can no longer be afforded. Councillors at this afternoon’s decision-making Adults, Children and Health Committee were told that “the existing model of delivery and management of the service is no longer sustainable and we do not have the capacity to manage the volume of referrals.”
Councillor Gareth Manson, who questioned the proposal at today's Adults, Children and Health Committee, says:
“Despite claims by central Government that there are no cuts to NHS services, this does not apply to Public Health since those services were transferred to local councils a few years ago. Public Health budgets are, therefore, subject to the same cuts as all other council services unless political decisions are made to protect them. South Gloucestershire’s Conservatives are not protecting the Public Health budgets, which will have been cut by 35% since 2013. The popular Exercise on Prescription scheme is just the latest sorry casualty of Tory Government cuts and Tory Council decisions.”