The English local government public health reforms: an independent assessment

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To… avoid the problems of the past, we need to reform the public health system. Localism will be at the heart of this system, with responsibilities, freedoms, and funding devolved wherever possible.
Healthy lives, healthy people (Department for Health 2010, p 8)

This report, commissioned by the Local Government Association, assesses the success of the 2013 reforms to public health in England, which were part of the Coalition government’s wider health reform programme. These reforms, which saw the responsibility for many aspects of public health move from the NHS to local government, involved transition of staff and services and required the formation of new relationships to ensure public health was embedded across local government services.

The report looks at the effects of the reforms in both the short and longer term and looks at the impact of the changes, which have brought opportunities for innovation and integration, as well as challenges, at a time when funding for public health has been cut. The author then takes a look into the future and the implications for public health in the context of the NHS long term plan, the government’s prevention consultation and the wider shift to population health systems.

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