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Monday 24th October 2016

NHS shake-up may harm public health

29th July 2010

Experts have warned that an overhaul of the NHS may impact on public health.

Primary Care

The King’s Fund health think tank fears that government plans to abolish primary care trusts in England and give GPs control of the budget will have a negative effect on public health, which will be handed back to control of local councils.

Public health has traditionally been the responsibility of local health managers working for the 151 PCTs who have recruited local public health directors and coordinated campaigns to encourage people to adopt healthier lifestyles.

But under the changes announced earlier this month, that role is to be handed to local authorities.

The think tank is worried that could mean the GP consortiums that will be in charge of local NHS services will not be engaged in the issue in the same way the health service was in the past.

Dr Anna Dixon, King’s Fund director of policy tank, said there were risks with the move.

“I think there is a particular danger that the NHS no longer sees health as its responsibility but just health care,” said Dr Dixon.

Professor Steve Field of the Royal College of GPs said he shared the concerns.

He added: “There is a risk here, especially as not every GP has a great knowledge of public health.”

Public health minister Anne Milton said there was no need to be concerned.

She said detailed plans about how public health would work under the new system would be set out later this year in a White Paper.


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