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UK Faculty of Public Health welcomes the new direction for public health

The Government’s public health White Paper has outlined radical new plans for public health in England. 
 
According to Healthy Lives, Healthy People, public health will be at the heart of public service, becoming the responsibility of local authorities.

Incentivising healthy behaviour, or ‘nudging’, will be favoured over regulation, and a ring-fenced budget for improving and protecting people’s health will be introduced.

Professor Lindsey Davies, President of the UK Faculty of Public Health (FPH), said:  “We welcome the Coalition Government’s commitment to public health at the heart of the public service.

"This promises to be a major transformation of the system, bringing with it many opportunities such as public health specialists able to work even more closely with their local authority colleagues and others across their communities, to deliver real and lasting improvements to health and wellbeing.

“But these are early days, and there’s still a lot of work to be done to implement these plans.  We’ll be working hard to see these promises translate to action.”

FPH supports public health’s return to local authorities and the authorities’ new responsibility for health.  The director of public health will play a central role as an authoritative, independent and influential leader in shaping local services and delivering a new vision for public health. 

FPH also welcomes the approach to outcomes and evidence, and the focus on health inequalities, which still blight so many communities around the country, as well as the Government’s willingness to explore a mixture of innovative measures to help people lead healthier lives.

The creation of a new, integrated, national public health service, Public Health England, to drive these improvements in people’s health is also strongly supported.

Professor Davies said: “Public health is about all of us doing everything we can to keep ourselves and others healthy and enjoying life.

"We must all play our part; an important role for the Government is to regulate where this is necessary for everyone’s benefit.  We welcome the acknowledgement in the White Paper that regulation has a place as a part of a holistic approach to health improvement.” 

But FPH also warns that to put the plans into action, it is vital to retain the expertise, experience and knowledge of the public health professionals around the country – underpinned by statutory regulation of all public health specialists. 

Professor Davies continued:  “Services are currently under real pressure, demands are increasing and funds are being cut.  If we are to deliver good public health outcomes, adequate resources are essential.”

Contact details:

Suvi Kingsley, FPH Press Officer, on 020 7935 3115 / 07909 780022 / suvikingsley@fph.org.uk

Written: 30/11/2010 , last modified: 13/07/2011