While integrating care services is part of the journey to a transformed health system, it is not the destination. Efforts to integrate care have rarely encompassed the broader health of local populations and the impact of the wider determinants of health.
Tackling persistent inequalities requires consistent, sustainable action and intervention, which in turn requires stable, committed system leadership with a focus on population health systems.
Chris Ham gives his assessment of the new government’s health policy.
Back in June, with no prior warning, the Treasury announced that the 2015/16 public health grant to local authorities would be reduced by £200 million. Last week, the Department of Health finally released the consultation on these ‘in-year savings’. So why the delay?
The connection between housing conditions and health has a long and well-evidenced historical provenance. But if integrating health and social care is a tough nut to crack, does the prospect of engaging with another massive system risk adding another layer of complexity?
As the election campaign has got into full swing, politicians have been seeking to outbid each other on funding for the NHS. However, there has been almost total silence on public health. So why is the debate so different this time round, and why does it matter?
One of the early mantras of the coalition government was the intention to ‘improve the health of the poorest, fastest’. So where have we got to with this ambition, and more broadly, with inequalities in health?
David Buck reflects on the big messages communicated at the launch of Labour’s approach to public health policy.
If population health is to be protected, funding for the NHS needs to be safeguarded, but other budgets – for housing, education and leisure facilities – are important too. When it comes to investing in public health measures, which interventions do the public favour?
Despite all the pressures, the NHS remains, and will continue to remain, a massive economic and social entity. Are we making the most of this enormous power?
Nice one NICE: developing the policy narrative on preventing disability, frailty and dementia in later life
Integration cannot just be about treating frail older people, we need to think beyond health and social care, and NICE is leading the way with their new guidelines – out for consultation – on preventing disability, frailty and dementia in later life.
We need to be very careful in understanding the links between choice of metrics, impact of policies and population dynamics over time when coming to conclusions about the success or failure of ambitions to narrow inequalities in health, says David Buck.
In the run-up to the next general election, navigating the complexities of evidence and opinion on e-cigarettes will be key as the political parties start to develop their positions on public health, says David Buck.
Is it time to reassess Public Health England's role? David Buck explains how the organisation could strengthen its position and voice in wider government policy-making and public debate.
The three key system leaders on health inequalities – the Department of Health, NHS England and Public Health England – need to kick-start a national conversation by telling us how they are going to use their power to do their bit.
NHS England have set out their thinking on how the bulk of NHS money will get to where it needs to be, and on what basis, through allocations to CCGs – David Buck shares his thoughts on this decision.
David Buck reflects on the new terms of reference for resource allocation from NHS England, including a frank admission that it might be forced to cut some budgets to protect against instability in other areas.
With various announcements on public health policy last week, including the kicking into the long grass of a decision on plain packaging for tobacco, it is hard to tell whether these are signs of a change in tack in policy, the undue influence of lobbyists, or a cock-up, says David Buck.
Now that total public health allocations to local authorities has been decided, it’s time to move beyond the debate on the reforms to what matters: assuring that the resources really do improve the public’s health and reduce health inequalities
Having spent the first half of the Parliament legislating for radical changes to the organisation of the NHS, the government now needs to focus on the mundane but much more important challenge of implementing and executing the service changes on which its record will ultimately depend.