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KENT CALLS FOR HEALTH CONTROL

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Kent CC is lobbying the government to give it control of community and public health services. ...
Kent CC is lobbying the government to give it control of community and public health services.

The move comes in the wake of an Audit Commission report criticising poorly co-ordinated care in the health sector, as well as between health and local government (LGC, 23 June).

It also anticipates the NHS national plan and the white paper on long-term care for the elderly, both expected in July. The national plan will map out the future interface between health and social care.

Kent leader Sandy Bruce-Lockhart said: 'The shift towards preventative health is the way we will get a healthier nation . . . The best place to do that is in the community, with the local authority working right across the full range of preventative services, schools, education, drugs, youth, environment.'

Kent's proposal argues for 'local health commissioning authorities' to co-ordinate all community and primary care services except those provided by GPs. Although the council would commission services, it would not provide them all.

Kent says local government is better placed to provide public and community health services because:

Councils can charge for services where appropriate but the NHS cannot, even where people can afford to pay

Councils are elected, and though not popular, people prefer them to quangos.

Councils have a better record at containing the cost of adult care.

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