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Lansley announces plans for a “new public health service”

7 July 2010

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The health secretary delivered his first speech on public health today (7 July 2010), in which he outlined plans to create a healthy nation based upon behaviour change and “a new sense of community and local responsibility”.

Mr Lansley’s vision for  a new public health service involves a “framework of empowerment” that includes: a new ring-fenced public health budget; a new “responsibility deal” between government and business built on shared social responsibility; a “Health Premium” to target public health resources towards the areas with the poorest health; and an enhanced role for public health directors.

Also announced was a new cabinet sub-committee on public health, chaired by the health secretary, to tackle the drivers of demand on the NHS.

Mr Lansley (pictured) said: “For too long our approach to public health has been fragmented, overly complex and sadly ineffective. We want to free the system up – to create a framework which empowers people to make the changes that will really make a difference to the nation’s lives.

“My vision is for a new public health service which rebalances our approach to health, and draws together a national strategy and leadership, alongside local leadership and delivery and, above-all, a new sense of community and social responsibility.”

He added: “We will not be dictating the ‘how’ when it comes to achieving better public health outcomes. But we will be very clear about the ‘what’ – what we want to measure and achieve, such as: increases in life expectancy, decreases in infant mortality and health inequalities, improved immunisation rates, reduced childhood obesity, fewer alcohol related admissions to hospital, and more people taking part in physical activity.”

A white paper, to be published later this year, will set out in more detail how the public health service will work.

Department of Health

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

“It never fails to amaze me how ignorant people are re their own bodies and the attitude that they have no responsibility for their own health and the dr will fix it all frankly terrifies me. I too am a great supporter of health trainers – we have one who runs weekly, soon to be two per week sessions in surgery and he has been very effective in an education role in terms of healthy eating etc etc on a level that neither nurses or drs have time to do. I feel if the health trainers go it will be a great loss to the practice” – Name and address withheld

“I think personal choice and behaviour change that leads to health improvement needs to be supported from a baseline of improved health literacy – people can’t actively engage in choices and decisions about their health if they have poor levels of health literacy. The health trainer programme has much to offer in the area of behaviour change and the learning from this programme should not be lost. There is a team at DH – hope Andrew is talking to them!” – Maureen, East Midlands

“In Leeds we announced the merger of the public health roles of the City Council and PCT in order to achieve more joined up working, it was also announced no additional payment for this new single role would be required. I’ve not read the white paper but it looks is if others have” – Mary E Hoult, Yorkshire