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Less intrusive health service planned

30 November 2010

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The Health Secretary is planning for the government to take a “less intrusive” approach to public health.

Andrew Lansley is due to set out proposals for revising “social norms” around smoking, obesity and alcohol to make it easier for people to make healthier choices.

A white paper from the government will promise ring-fenced public health budgets and create a new public health service from existing organisations.

In the past NHS trusts have been criticised for raiding public health finances to cover deficits and problems in other services, but the new plans will transfer responsibility for public health back to local government and away from trusts.

Public health directors will be moved to local councils to work as “champions” of healthy living. A Health Inclusion Board, chaired by Professor Steve Field from the Royal College of GPs, will look into the causes of deprivation and health inequalities.

A new public health premium will be introduced – a payment by results incentive for delivering improvements and reducing health inequalities between different groups in society.

Mr Lansley will say the government intends to keep out of people’s everyday lives as much as possible but will support them in making healthy choices.

He will point to a model called the Nuffield Ladder of Interventions, which is a scale designed to encourage people to change their behaviour.

It starts with realising that some behaviour trends fizzle out on their own and no interventions are required.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Department of Health

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“All the nannying and nagging that health professionals are expected to do only makes lots of people turn away. When people become responsible for their own health and the implications of poor lifestyle are realised then we will see change” – Nurse, Lancs