Public health White Paper reaction round-up

Health and social care organisations have cautiously welcomed government plans to re-organise public health in England.

Dr Gerada: 'It is essential that GPs will be able to draw on the skills of public health doctors'

RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada said: ‘General practice has to continue to play a role in ensuring the health of the public as we move into a world where GPs will be responsible for the population’s health. It is therefore essential that GPs will be able to draw on the skills of public health doctors.

‘The RCGP will be working closely with the Faculty for Public Health to take forward the college’s thinking on how GPs and public health doctors can work most effectively together.’

NHS Confederation
Nigel Edwards, acting chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: ‘The relationship between GP consortia and local authorities is really crucial. GP consortia and local government need a shared plan for health social and public health so we can prevent the lack of co-ordination that has bedevilled this area in the past.'

He added that co-operation between relevant services and activities will be the key to making sure the government’s plans for public health work.

Professor Mike Kelly, director of the Centre for Public Health at NICE, said: ‘It’s clear that prevention is better, and also cheaper, than cure. Using NICE’s cost-effective evidence-based advice on what works to prevent ill-health is a good way to help the NHS provide the best outcomes for the limited resources available.’

British Heart Foundation
Betty McBride, director of policy and communications at the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘It’s terrific news that the ban on tobacco vending machines will go ahead as planned next year. It shows the government is truly committed to removing an easy source of cigarettes for children and young people.

‘We welcome the commitment to look at plain packaging for cigarettes but this must not become an alternative option to a display ban - we need both measures to protect children and young people from a lifetime of addiction and health problems.’

Cancer Research UK
Aisling Burnand, executive director of policy and public affairs at Cancer Research said: "We welcome the public health White Paper and Andrew Lansley’s intention to look at plain packaging for tobacco - an important step forward in reducing deaths from smoking.

'But a commitment to think further about plain packs cannot be a substitute for enacting the vital legislation to put tobacco out of sight in shops.’

NHS Employers
Responding to the publication of the public health White Paper, Dean Royles, director of NHS Employers, said: ‘We welcome the White Paper’s view that the NHS, as the UK’s largest employer, can lead by example with its programmes to improve staff health and well-being.

'A lot of work has already been done at local level to help reduce sickness absence. NHS Employers is continuing to work with organisations to share good practice and learning.’

Royal College of Psychiatrists
Professor Dinesh Bhugra, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: ‘We warmly welcome the government’s new public health White Paper for acknowledging – at long last – that mental health is central to public health.

'In particular, we welcome the recognition of the need to intervene early to protect children’s health and well-being.’

Alcohol Concern
Chief Executive of Alcohol Concern, Don Shenker said: 'Alcohol Concern is pleased that the government is seeking to use the tax structure as a lever to tackle alcohol-related harms. However, they are tinkering at the edges, failing to address the fundamental inconsistencies within the alcohol duty system.

‘The proposals announced today will see some people drinking lower strength beer but they will not tackle the overall alcohol harms which cost the UK economy £25bn each year.’

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