Public Health has always had a key role to play in identifying, analysing and preventing health problems which affect the population as a whole.
HUDU works with public health professionals on assessing the wider health impacts of population growth and change, and the opportunities to use the planning and development process to achieve health improvements and reductions in health inequality – see Our Services.
Under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, local authorities have now taken on responsibility for public health from the NHS and, from April 2013, they became the lead for coordinating local efforts to protect the public’s health and wellbeing. The NHS continues to play a full role in providing care and tackling inequalities by ensuring fair access to health services and making every clinical contact count.
The three domains of the public health service are described in the July 2011 White Paper Healthy Lives, Healthy People:
- health improvement
- health protection
- health services
The focus is on outcomes, as set out in the Public Health Outcomes Framework, with two overarching aims – to increase healthy life expectancy and reduce health inequalities.
A new national executive agency, Public Health England, will:
- deliver services (such as health protection and public health information)
- lead for public health
- support the development of the specialist and wider public health workforce
Directors of Public Health already publish an annual report which is a useful source of information on factors affecting the health of their populations, and how they are tackling them. They also have a continuing statutory responsibility, along with Directors of Adult Services and Children’s Services to produce a Joint Strategic Needs Analysis (JSNA) for their area as well as a new responsibility to serve on Health and Wellbeing Boards.
When developing local plans, planners have a responsibility to consult with public health leads and health organisations to understand and take account of the health needs of the local population as part of the evidence base for the plans.