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'Low opinions' of council health integration

'Low opinions' of council health integration


Public health professionals claim decisions made at local authorities are being based on politics rather than evidence, and that ring-fenced health budgets are not being reserved for healthcare. 

Three quarters of respondents to a survey conducted by the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) also suggested that financial restrictions are impacting their team’s ability to deliver health improvement initiatives.

Views were mixed about the role of health and wellbeing boards. 

Only 15% of professionals believed the change to providing public health in local authorities has had a positive impact on health improvement outcomes and over half did not believe in the potential of the new system to improve health or reduce health inequalities.

The report raises concerns and highlights the cultural shift being experienced by public health teams with over 80% of respondents suggesting additional influencing skills would help them demonstrate their effectiveness within this new environment.

The respondents had a sense of ‘business as usual’ with limited evidence of any innovative approaches being used. 

Shirley Cramer, RSPH CEO said: “It is widely understood that the transition of public health into local authorities has great potential to provide improvements in the public’s health and particularly on health inequalities and while we recognise that it will take time for a new system to be fully functional, this report has highlighted some areas of concern.

"We want to ensure that public health remains at the top of local authority agendas if we are to make a dent in health inequality. There is clearly a risk around health improvement in local populations if the workforce do not feel they have the skills to be effective in a local authority setting.”

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing said: “In order for this system to work, we need to ensure that public health budgets are protected and resources diverted to the most appropriate areas. It’s very worrying news that the public health workforce believe in many instances that this just isn’t happening.

“Health and wellbeing boards should be the lynchpin of the new system, however we know there are inconsistencies in their efficacy. What we need is to see clearer guidance about how they can affect commissioning and improve public health across the country." 



Another honeypot for Councils to dip into !!

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