NI health 'affected' by pressure on Stormont budgets
Published: 14th Jun 2012 06:30:02
Pressure on Stormont budgets has made preventing ill-health in Northern Ireland more difficult, the Public Health Agency has said.
In its annual report, it said more should be invested but services were being affected by the pressure on spending.
PHA director of public health Dr Carolyn Harper said it was hard for children to recover from a poor start in life, and this cycle continued into adulthood with greater risk of anti-social behaviour.
Dr Harper said: "Even with modest investment in programmes to support early years, the population in Northern Ireland will experience huge health, social and economic benefits."
The NHS faces a host of problems, with many children smoking or taking drugs as well as significant levels of youth obesity and mental health difficulties.
The report said: "The current situation also presents something of a paradox; the need to spend more on prevention is clear, yet more difficult because of the budget pressure on service delivery.
"Improving health and wellbeing is also likely to be compounded by financial pressures experienced by other government departments whose policies will impact on health.
"Further welfare reform is expected to have an adverse impact on those who are most disadvantaged."
Thursday's PHA report said its investment in smoking cessation services improved outcomes for patients and saved the health service thousands of pounds.
By the age of 13, 62% of children across Northern Ireland have smoked tobacco, with a quarter doing so every day.
According to the report, the earlier children become regular smokers and persist in the habit as adults, the greater the risk of developing lung cancer or heart disease.
Early uptake of smoking is associated with subsequent heavier smoking; higher levels of dependency; a lower chance of quitting and higher mortality.
Almost a fifth of young people in school years eight to 12 have taken a form of drug or solvent at some point in their life, 13% within the last year.
Economists have found investment produces a nine or ten-fold return.
Dr Harper added: "Instead of reacting late to problems in adulthood which are precipitated by troubled formative years, the PHA is shifting our emphasis towards early and ongoing support to give children and young people the social and emotional resilience they need to handle the problems life can present."
Key statistics in the report included:
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. NI health 'affected' by pressure on Stormont budgets. [Online] (Updated 14 Jun 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news.php/1434538-NI-health-affected-by-pressure-on-Stormont-budgets [Accessed 11th May 2013]
At 19:47:33 in BusinessStruggling local post offices are facing an "extremely uncertain future", according to the people who run them....
At 19:37:49 in PoliticsLabour leader Ed Miliband has restated his opposition to David Cameron's position on an EU referendum....
At 19:15:21 in HeadlinesAn estimated seven million people in the UK currently provide unpaid care to a sick or disabled child or an adult who could not otherwise li...
At 17:35:01 in EnglandPlans to create a multi-million pound Chinese business park in London's Royal Docks have been revealed as the preferred option to redev...
At 17:33:12 in EnglandAn exhibition celebrating the life of the late singer Amy Winehouse will open at London's Jewish Museum in July....
At 17:24:45 in WalesA cafe customer has raised the alarm after spotting four men in an inflatable dinghy who ended up clinging to a buoy and waving for help....
At 17:11:42 in HeadlinesAn illegal immigrant has gone on the rampage with a pickaxe in the Italian city of Milan, killing a passer-by and wounding four others, poli...
At 16:57:12 in EnglandMore than 1,000 toads in Gloucestershire have been saved by volunteer patrols helping the creatures safely across roads....
At 16:52:41 in EnglandHundreds of Chester FC fans have lined the city's streets to watch an open-top bus parade to celebrate the club's hat-trick of pro...
At 16:28:09 in EnglandA sawn-off shotgun and a large supply of ammunition have been seized in a drugs raid at a house. ...
News In Other Categories
The Scottish Liberal Democrats have chosen their candidate for the Aberdeen Donside by-election....
Struggling local post offices are facing an "extremely uncertain future", according to the people who run them....
Plans to create a multi-million pound Chinese business park in London's Royal Docks have been revealed as the preferred option to redev...
Two US astronauts have begun an emergency spacewalk to fix a leak of ammonia from the International Space Station's cooling system....
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol ba...
Ask most people about their idea of a therapy session and it will probably be a dispassionate professional sitting quietly taking notes as a...