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Uncertainty reigns over public health changes

28 March 2011 - 12:58pm

Providers fear that existing services could be lost, says Louise Hunt

Big questions remain over the structure and delivery of the government’s public health agenda, say those involved in influencing the policy.

Speakers at The New Public Health Service conference in London on 24 March revealed how plans to shift responsibility for public health from the NHS to local authorities are progressing.

Areas of uncertainty include the make-up and leverage of health and wellbeing boards, which will link local strategy with a new national body, Public Health England, the total amount of ring-fenced funding (expected to be £4 billion); and how this will be divided between the national body and local services.

Concerns were raised that existing services could get lost in the transition during a time of austerity.

‘Providers in the medium term will be the most profoundly affected by these changes,’ said Yvonne Doyle, regional director of public health for the South East Coast.

David Rogers, chair of the Local Government Association community wellbeing board, told Frontline it was ‘too early to say how individual providers will be impacted, while the top-level structure is still being worked out’.

He advised regional health professional networks to make contact with health and wellbeing boards and GP consortia, as they are formed over the coming months.

Consultation on the Healthy Lives, Healthy People white paper ends on 31 March. The CSP has called for physiotherapists to be allowed input on their role through the health and wellbeing boards.


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