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Councils charged with improving public health

The Government's Public Health White Paper is to confirm that responsibility for public health will be switched from the NHS to local councils.

Apparently the money will be ring fenced. This is a mistake. If councils can show they are able to deliiver more for less in this area, as elsewhere, they should be encouraged to do so. The test should be such factors as reducing the number of pregnant women who smoke, or reducing childhood obesity or increasing the number of new mothers who breast feed or increasing the number of pensioners who take flu jabs. Etc, etc, etc. The test should not be making sure the full budget is spent without any savings being found.

But it is still an encouraging localist initiative for this function to be transferred to councils. In terms of joined up Government it is also a good fit.

As Health Secretary Andrew Lansley says:

 "Health is not just about the quality of healthcare. It's probably at least as much about the quality of people's lives - the environment, the housing, their education and employment."


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