The King's Fund statement in response to government announcement of public health consultation

Speaking in response to the Secretary of State for Health's announcement of a public health consultation, The King's Fund chief executive Niall Dickson said:

'I welcome this new consultation on public health. We are keen to see a new dialogue between government and the electorate about health policy - one that focuses on helping people stay healthy not just treating them when they are ill.

'It is important that citizens are seen not as passive recipients of health care, but as being able to take responsibility for their own health, with government playing an enabling role.'

The King's Fund health policy director Anna Coote said:

'We hope that this new initiative will build on efforts already underway within the Department of Health, the NHS and the Health Development Agency, to reduce inequalities in health. Dr Reid's statement makes no reference to the social and economic determinants of health and to the fact that obesity and smoking, as well as most cancers, heart disease and mental ill health, afflict those who are poor and socially excluded more than those who are better off. It is vital that the Department of Health works closely with local government and other departments and agencies to ensure that the root causes of such illnesses are effectively tackled.'

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For further information, or interviews with The King's Fund staff, please contact Sian Evans in the public affairs team on 020 7307 22632, Michael Moruzzi on 020 7307 2585, or Daniel Reynolds on 020 7307 2581.