Public overall health, one 12 months on: highs and lows for neighborhood government

Public Health Dialogue: mental health and wellbeing

How profitable have councils been in strengthening the well being of their residents? Photograph: Joe Wigdahl / Alamy/Alamy

Public well being became a neighborhood government obligation in April last yr for the very first time given that the 1970s. Councils took above commissioning services to assist folks quit smoking, get rid of bodyweight and tackle other important wellness concerns. But, a single yr on, what is been accomplished?

Guardian journalist Richard Vize spoke about the options connected with the move in an report final 12 months. He explained that even though acquiring to grips with council politics and processes will be tough, public overall health teams ought to discover the move to local government “a liberating knowledge”. He wrote: “Although NHS culture is hierarchical, centralised and inward seeking, neighborhood government is outward searching, community focused and rebellious.”

Nevertheless, councils came under fire from the British Healthcare Journal (BMJ) who explained they were diverting public wellness money for other use. The Regional Government Association (LGA) described this report as “completely misleading”, adding that paying ranges on public overall health remained consistent.

Here are your views on the highs and lows of the year, with public overall health now firmly in the neighborhood government remit.

What successes are there to shout about?

Public wellness is now at the heart of commissioning

– Joanne Roney is chief executive of Wakefield council.

Improving wellness and wellbeing is component of the local financial growth agenda


– Rob Walsh is chief executive of North East Lincolnshire council.

Councils are operating on some really wonderful projects

Southwark have just announced they are producing all their sports activities centres totally free they also do universal totally free college lunches. Get Match Birmingham is an interesting scheme as is Nicely London wellness champions which operates in a quantity of boroughs. Ipswich banned super powerful lagers and ciders.

– Edward Davie is communications and engagement office for the NSUN network for psychological health and and chair of Lambeth council’s overall health and adult social companies scrutiny committee

Our span of influence is have to better

We have brought other departments beneath public overall health, so community safety (e.g crime, anti-social behaviour, vulnerable communities) emergency planning (e.g floods and extreme weather, events and public order concerns), environmental health and regulatory solutions (e.g alcohol licensing, noise, pest, air quality and so forth) all now sit underneath public health. We lead on the intelligence function for the authority.

Asides from assimilating other solutions we have a considerably closer functioning relationship with colleagues in housing, transport, planning, rewards, children’s services and have started out lots of great initiatives.

– Tom Scanlon is director of public well being at Brighton &amp Hove city council.

Joined up working in London has been a good results

Boroughs have been joining up companies each inside of their organisations and with wider partners, and they have been implementing initiatives that give communities the tools and sources to address their own health wants.

Public health is turning out to be integrated into every facet of London nearby government, from housing and licensing to leisure and environmental overall health, and its position will only become more essential as councils look for to provide high quality companies with much less.


– Teresa O’Neill is executive member for well being at London Councils.

What perform is there to be completed?

Public well being resources are still so unfairly distributed

The greatest failure of the new public overall health program is that resources are so unfairly distributed. City of London, Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea, the country’s richest boroughs with some of the best existence expectancy, are obtaining by far the most public wellness cash per head.

City of London receives £192 per head, much more than double spots such as Lambeth, Manchester and Liverpool which have far larger levels of illness and deprivation.

This is compounded by the fact that the councils serving the poorest residents, and for that reason people with the highest rates of sick overall health, have had their general budgets disproportionately minimize. This signifies that it is tougher for these councils to tackle the pre-determinants of sick-health by supplying respectable housing, employment, leisure and training options.

Councils such as Lambeth have had their spending budget lower by 50% whilst fairly healthful and wealthy West Oxfordshire, which occurs to be David Cameron’s neighborhood council, has had a three% improve.


– Edward Davie

A challenge is the quantity of vacant director of public health posts

Provided nearby government’s new role in public overall health concerned the merger of two distinct cultures, it seems to have gone quite effectively so far. Currently a single sees councillors lining up with their directors of public overall health to argue the situation for pondering about the public wellness impacts of council policies usually, and we know that 72% of authorities say that Public Well being England, only a year outdated, is supporting them effectively. A challenge is the number of vacant director of public health posts – and whether that is a signal of a problem or lack of consideration by regional government.


– Ben Webpage is chief executive of Ipsos Mori.

The problems most often talked about by our members are the scale of financial cuts to council budgets, the influence of economic downturn and welfare modifications on people’s overall health, and considerations about getting in a position to recruit and retain the skilled workforce they require to do the job efficiently. About one in 4 director of public well being posts are at the moment filled by acting or interim arrangements and there are also higher ranges of vacancies in public overall health teams. Robust, stable public well being leadership is crucial if we are to accomplish the full likely of public well being moving into councils.

– Janet Atherton is president at Association of Directors of Public Health.

There are longer phrase problems about public overall health coaching and conditions of employment

I feel there are longer phrase problems about public wellness instruction, regional authority terms and circumstances of employment, and the willingness of medically experienced public well being experts to perform in such environments. I would also struggle to do this task in an upper tier authority – when a lot of actual public wellness sits in reduce tier, borough or unitary authorities – or where I had to go via yet another director to get to a chief executive, or did not have the very same budgetary management. I think if that were the situation, I may well search elsewhere.

– Tom Scanlon

• Public health: how landscape can increase the overall health of residents
• Councils have possibility to demonstrate effectiveness in public wellness
• Public health 2014: most significant topics for the year ahead

If you have a lot more thoughts to include then get in touch with sarah.marsh@theguardian.com or leave comments in the thread under.

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