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Tuesday 25th October 2016

Vulnerable groups are set to suffer if NHS budgets are squeezed

14th April 2009

The current economic climate has seen unprecedented levels of public sector investment – but the search for savings could see the most vulnerable members of society left out in the cold.

Public sector debt is soaring as the Government tackles the current economic crisis and alongside this there are growing calls for radical reform of public-service delivery and budget cuts.

The Expert Patient Programme Community Interest Company (EPP CIC) believe that means the gulf in healthcare provision between the “worried well” and hard-to-reach groups and communities could grow and leave them at risk – unless tackled head-on.

Simon Knighton, Chief Executive of the Expert Patient Programme Community Interest Company (EPP CIC), said: “If budget cuts are made the most vulnerable could suffer, this is because it is comparatively easier to cut funding for projects where people are less likely to complain - and this is all too often the case within hard-to-reach groups and communities who may not be as health-literate as others.

“If this happens these groups will suffer and we believe it will be a false-economy, instead of cutting the type of outreach services we and other groups offer we believe these groups actually need to be targeted to improve levels of health-literacy and inform people of the impact of lifestyle choices on their health.

“The NHS has done a fantastic job at tackling areas such as cancer and heart disease, we believe we now need to stabilise the budgets in these areas and refocus on health-literacy and prevention – reaching people before treatment is required.

“If this course of action is followed it will empower communities, improve levels of self-educated care and close the widening gap in provision. We believe the current climate offers a golden opportunity to rethink healthcare funding and priorities.”

EPP CIC was established in 2007 to provide support to people living with long-term illnesses, providing them with greater control over their conditions, increasing their confidence and helping to improve their quality of life.

EPP CIC has been working hard to develop new courses designed to meet people’s different needs, including those in marginalised groups. Courses available include the Expert Patient Programme - a six week course for people with chronic or long-term conditions, carers courses, a Persistent Pain Programme, Staying Positive (workshops for teenagers living with long term health conditions), New Beginnings (Mental Health) as well as several disease specific courses.


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