Health education is likely to be one of the first cuts made when healthcare budgets are decided. With the government cutting funding to the healthcare industry, doctors and hospital bosses have to decide what services they can get rid of. Obviously, they are not going to close emergency rooms or wards, or stop vital, life-saving surgeries from going ahead, so it is likely to be the healthcare programs that will suffer. This will affect the support groups for those with serious conditions and the education programs that aim to prevent situations like teenage pregnancies, drug addiction and the spread of HIV. If health education suffers, then hospitals and doctor’s surgeries may find themselves under more pressure. If at risks children and adults are not educated about health risks by these vital healthcare programs, then who will educate them?
In the US, many states have been told to cut healthcare programs to try and save money. While this may save a few dollars in the short term, the impact it will have on service users’ lives will be massive. Some of the programs at risk include those which provide support to disabled people, helping them to live independent lives and even find work; without these organisations, these disabled people are more likely to end up living in sheltered housing or a care home, and being even more of a burden on the state.
Another program facing a massive shortfall in its budget for next year is one that provides health education and counselling to pregnant teenagers who have been thrown out of their homes. Without the support that this health care program offers, they will have nowhere to go. In the UK, too, the government has announced huge public sector cuts. While they claim that this won’t affect the NHS, it will undoubtedly affect health education programs run by local councils.
Increasing costs of professional training
More worrying, is the likelihood that money will no longer be spent on health education programs for members of staff. If budgets are tight, then there are fears that healthcare professionals will no longer be encouraged to take expensive training courses that would benefit not only their patients but also their employers too. Tuition fees for UK universities are on the rise, meaning that the cost of qualifying as a doctor could be £9,000 a year for seven or more years. It is already prohibitively expensive to study medicine in the US, with many students leaving university with thousands of dollars of debt.