Monday, April 16, 2012

In April 2013, responsibility for public health will be transferred from the NHS to local authorities - but what are the implications and potential benefits of these changes

In public health, as in the NHS, it is a time of radical change. The task of improving the welfare of the public in England next year will be the work of the NHS and was taken instead to be the responsibility of local councils. This change is the largest of several important changes that were included in the bill the government for health and well being controversial. It will also create a powerful new body, England Public Health, to guide policy and a board of health and wellness in all areas of the board.

These changes and their implications were discussed by representatives of NHS, third sector, local government and academia in a recent debate on public health, the first in a series of such discussions organized The Guardian. In addition to the public a number of speakers were invited to attend: Nicola Close, executive director of the Association of Directors of Public Health, Professor David Croisdale-Appleby, chair, skills for care, Jonathan Brown Director of Public Health Transition in England, Department of Health. Camden and Dr Quentin Sandifer, Deputy Director of Public Health


guardian of public services and event chairman, David Brindle, kickstart the discussion by noting that "the local government is excited by what he sees as the restoration of the health function public history. "He added:" The creation of local boards of health and well-being is seen as an opportunity to focus on local priorities. "

Brown agreed that the changes have been the perfect opportunity to address deep-seated problems. "There are huge challenges in health inequalities and disparities in life expectancy," he said. The Government White Paper of 2010 on public health, healthy lifestyles, healthy people set ambitious goals, he added. The creation of the new NHS Board implementation means that the Ministry of Health in the future be much less define health policy, public health professionals will have more freedom to live, Brown said. "So there is a book very exciting here."

Andrew Lansley, the health secretary, said in January that £ 5.2 billion, or about 4% of total health budget will be available for public health services when the new system begins in April 2013. Public Health also has a powerful political support, Brown said in the debate. "The Ministry of Health is trying to make public health a priority," he said.

Some in the industry have expressed concern that public health in England do not have the independence to do its job properly. But, Brown said, its proximity to the government will be an advantage and ensure that their expert advice is pay attention. concern about the independence meant that almost gave a very different perspective to the discussion. "One area of ??concern for public health directors, is independence, they can continue to talk about the health of local people," said

Croisdale-Appleby argued that some environments affect human health, providing public health advice, which are already in charge of housing, roads, parks and schools, could reach a more comprehensive care. "This is a fantastic opportunity to make a change in the paradigm of how we view public health," he said.

accepted the new thinking is needed. "In terms of austerity, there is a lot less money. In fact, there is money," he said. "Public health must be really hard to say that if you put money there below, you will save money in the future. "

Then there will be new structures, Sandifer said that the central task facing public health - reducing the gap between health expectancy and life of the poorest citizens and richer - do not change. An audience member agreed, saying. "All that the local government is not a public health issue,"

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