Public Health Survey Results Show Optimism for the Future
Nearly three-quarters of local authorities who responded to a recent LGA survey agree that bringing public health back into local government has delivered better outcomes for the local population.
The results were part of an online public health opinion survey consisting of 15 questions sent to 149 single and upper tier councils in England. Of the 58 authorities who responded, giving children the best start in life was considered to be the main priority area for public health teams, followed by strong communities, wellbeing and resilience.
The current structure, which saw public health functions return to local government in 2013 after a 29 year absence, is generally seen as a success, with 83% of respondents agreeing the system is fit for purpose. Professionals questioned admitted there was still work to be done in linking public health with other council services. Less than a fifth agreed that public health had been fully embedded within environmental health and trading standards departments. When it comes to the commissioning of public health services, the situation is much more optimistic, with 93% of councils feeling that it is well supported within their organisation. Unsurprisingly, the main barrier to progress was seen as a lack of resources, while mismatches between local and central government priorities were an issue for 30% of respondents.
You can view the full survey results here