Public health 'key priority' for Burnham

Union Unite/CPHVA has welcomed a commitment from the new health secretary Andy Burnham that public health is one of his four key priorities.

Mr Burnham told last week’s NHS Confederation conference in Liverpool that the prevention of ill health was ‘a long-term insurance policy’ and acknowledged it might not reap immediate financial rewards.

Karen Reay, Unite’s national officer for health, said: ‘His commitment to prevention is warmly welcomed and demonstrates that he understands the need for good public health services which, in turn, means a fully-resourced health visitor and community nurse workforce to implement these programmes to improve the public health of the nation.

‘However, we believe that top-down efficiency savings could run counter to this important commitment to public health.’

Mr Burnham’s other priorities were quality, productivity and innovation.

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