Dudley and Blackpool EHO jobs at risk

EHO roles may be lost in Dudley and Blackpool as a result of government cuts to local government funding.

Dudley said it was planning to redesign its environmental health and trading standards teams and Blackpool warned it may have to make staffing reductions.

Rachel Harris, Dudley’s cabinet member for health, said: ‘This year’s budget proposals impact on over 133 full-time equivalent jobs across the council, rising to 275 by 2018/19. The redesign of environmental health and trading standards is included in the proposals, but the detail is yet to be determined as proposals are currently out to public consultation.’

She added that Dudley like other authorities was facing unprecedented reductions in council funding from central government.

‘This means making difficult decisions about council services and how we deliver them.’

Budget papers to be considered by Blackpool Council this month state that operational efficiencies in public

Blackpool expects to save a total £1,850,000 from community and environment services in 2016/17.

It also expects to save £1,760,000 from its public health budget by making contracts and commissioning ‘changes that will be redirected in to other public health related commissioned services’ in the same time frame.

Blackpool needs to make savings of £58m by 2018. Next year it will need to find £20m.

‘The last four and a half years have seen significant cuts in public expenditure, with local government bearing the weight of austerity measures aimed at addressing the size of the deficit between government spending and borrowing. Blackpool residents have been amongst the hardest hit, with the council having an estimated £261.52 less to spend on services for every single resident in the borough between 2011/12 and 2015/16, well above the North West average,’ states the document.

Last week EHN’s reported that Southampton Council was planning to cut nearly six full time positions if it merges its environmental health, trading standards and port health services.

Since 2012 the council has seen a 30 per cent reduction in its grants from central government.

The chancellor George Osborne said in a speech at Imperial College this month that The Department for Transport, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Treasury had agreed to a further 30 per cent cuts over the next four years.

‘The resource spending – that is the day to day spending of those four departments – will be cut on average 8 per cent a year for the next four years, that’s by 30 per cent in total,’ he said.

He claimed the savings would be achieved by a combination of ‘further efficiencies’ in departments and closing ‘low value programmes’.

Graham Jukes, CIEH chief executive, said his might lead to more environmental health cuts.

‘In the world of environmental health, this will continue to mean reprioritising of services and functions, stopping functions altogether and closing down innovative pilots that might have informed the way forward for adequate service delivery.’

The worst hit will be unitary authorities and those in metropolitan areas with large populations.

‘The continual slow-down in the ability of local authorities to address the preventative agendas that stop people getting ill in the first place will place further pressure on the NHS which is already under enough stress,’ he said.

Reference: http://www.ehn-online.com/news/

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