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Public health white paper - NHS Confederation reaction

Responding to the Government's proposals for the future of public health on 30 November, the NHS Confederation was clear that the relationship between GP consortia and local authorities will be crucial.

Important to get implementation right

NHS Confederation acting chief executive Nigel Edwards said: “Moving public health to local authorities should have many benefits as councils have greater potential to impact on the causes of ill health. Councils can help people improve their health in ways that the NHS cannot. It is important to get the implementation right, otherwise a good idea can do more harm than good.   

GP consortia and local authority relationship crucial

“The relationship between GP consortia and local authorities is really crucial. GP consortia and local government need a shared plan for health social and public health so we can prevent the lack of co-ordination that has bedevilled this area in the past.   

“Co-operation between relevant services and activities will be the key to making sure the Government’s plans for public health work.  The white paper needs to be the start of a process of bringing together all the services and initiatives which help to support a healthier population. This kind of overarching approach is particularly important in improving mental health and well-being where community-based services are vital.

Details needed

“We need to work out the details about what incentives there will be to encourage each part of the system to work together and also how to ensure clear accountability. For example, it may be sensible to mandate that GPs sit on local council health and well-being boards or keep some public health expertise inside the NHS.  

“Without greater clarity on these issues, the risk is that the reforms will flounder. Our members will see this white paper as a very important piece of work and are keen to help shape the final product.”

Summary information for members

Our summary of the public health white paper for members and information about how they can help shape our consultation response will be available soon.

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