We join over 70 health organisations endorsing a statement on the future of health improvement and raising serious concerns with Government about plans to reorganise the public health system.
Action on Smoking & Health (ASH) has worked with national health organisations to formalise concerns over the ability of Public Health England (PHE) to provide necessary vital health improvement and other wider functions when the government makes its proposed changes. The worry is that the introduction of a new system will see levels of care decrease if communication systems and standards of expertise are not maintained. This is a particular concern during the pandemic as communities hit hardest by COVID-19 are those with the poorest health. This joint statement sets out the principles we and our fellow stakeholders, believe should underpin the new health improvement system.
The agreed issues are as follows:
- Sufficient funding (now at risk due to budget cuts) is needed to improve population health
- Sufficient numbers of high-quality trained medical experts to be maintained and strengthened
- Strong intelligence including health surveillance, monitoring and analytical functions to be maintained and improved
- Assurance of interconnectivity of new public health system to work as one across organisations at every level
- Improvement of coordination between the NHS and local government
- Clear accountability for reducing health inequalities at every level of the system
- Strong relationships between all four UK nations’ public health functions
The COVID-19 pandemic is a vivid illustration of the link between good health and a strong economy. To ensure our national recovery we must invest in public health and safeguard the infrastructure needed to tackle ill health and the inequalities this causes.