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New Health Act proposed to help the NHS

The gap between NHS income and expenditure could rise to £30 billion by 2022/3 according to the UK Public Health Network, which will be speaking at our 'Healthy Cities' forum this October.

It cites the 70% NHS expenditure of its current budget in treating chronic diseases such as diabetes and it welcomes the government sugar tax outlined in the Spring budget. However, it stresses that there needs to be more fundamental thinking if our ‘health poverty’ is to be turned around.

The network thinks a new UK Health and Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, could be the answer. It argues that such an act would be placed at the heart of all policy decisions including transport, housing, education, trade and environment. The act might also introduce certain protected characteristics to those living in areas of deprivation in the same way that equality laws now protect against discrimination.

The act, the network says, would be in line with the Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 that has established a duty on public bodies in Wales to consider the health of present and future populations. In arguing for the forthcoming Public Health (Wales) Bill, the case was made that such legislation could become ‘the instrument of social change’. Today’s issues, it explains, focus on sustainability with an increasing recognition that human, animal and ecosystem health are all interconnected as ‘one health’.

The network suggests that the new UK Future Generations Act would help to deliver the United Nations’ sustainable development goals to address inequality, ensure healthy lives and grow a prosperous economy that is protective of justice, people and the planet.

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