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Health white paper ‘recognises councils’ key role’

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The government’s proposed transfer of public health responsibilities to local authorities recognises councils’ key role in health improvement work, the LGA has said.

David Rogers (Lib Dem), chair of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said yesterday’s health white paper proposals were in line with the clear mandate of the sector.

“Councils should play a central role in the outcome of any NHS reorganisation,” he said.

“They know their area best and working in partnership with health professionals are best placed to help improve the health of residents and respond to circumstances in their areas.

“Town halls want to promote healthy, active lifestyles and help people live longer, happier lives.

“With a long and proven history of addressing public health issues, they are ideally placed to deliver these goals and guarantee public involvement in local commissioning decisions.”

King’s Fund chief executive Chris Ham said the white paper’s success would “depend critically” on how effectively its proposals were implemented.

Prof Ham said that while question marks remained over GPs’ inclination and ability to commission services in place of PCTs, the strengthened role for councils in joining up services and improving public health were “positive”.

“With the NHS facing the most significant financial challenge in its history and substantial cuts to social care budgets likely to follow the spending review in the autumn, stronger integration between health and social care services is not just desirable, it is essential,” he said.

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