The future of nearly 50 health or wellbeing services for Reading people is up in the air, under a major public consultation being run by Reading Borough Council (RBC).
RBC says continuing to provide services which support healthy, independent living, such as stop smoking, healthy weight support, school nursing and sexual health services, is becoming ‘increasingly challenging’. Government funding for Reading will have been reduced from nearly £55 million between 2010 and 2020, leaving the Council with a grant of under £3 million.
Around 27 services in Reading are currently funded or supported by a public health grant sent from government to the council, while a further 20 services are arranged by the council from other funding pots to support public health outcomes.
The public consultation – which runs from 2 November 2018 until 6 January 2019 – seeks views on which areas are most important and whether people would accept some services in different ways, such as online advice, or merged services provided by more organisations working in partnership.
The council is running a public consultation event on Tuesday 18th December, from 10:30 am to 12:30pm, at Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC) Global Café, 35-39 London Street, Reading, RG1 4PS.
Full details of the consultation are available online at: www.reading.gov.uk/publichealthgrantconsultation
To receive a hard copy of the questionnaire or for additional support to understand or complete the questionnaire, write to: Wellbeing Team, Level 2, Civic Centre, Reading RG1 2LU; call 0118 937 2383 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Graeme Hoskin, Reading’s Lead Member for Public Health, said: “With big and ongoing government cuts to the Council’s funding these are difficult times, where difficult decisions have to be made. However, every effort has been made to ensure that the impact of funding reduction will be felt least in the communities where health initiatives are needed the most.”
Healthwatch Reading can also take feedback from people worried about the impact of the plans, telephone us on 0118 937 2295.