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Public encouraged to respond to Health consultation

NHS Warwickshire and Warwickshire County Council are encouraging members of the public to respond to a national consultation on the future of public health by 8th March.

Public Health involves protecting and improving the health of communities through education, promotion of healthy lifestyles and research for disease prevention. The consultation paper entitled, ‘Healthy Lives, Healthy People’ sets out the Government’s strategy and long-term vision for the future of public health in England.

The plans outline the transformation of public health through Public Health England and the creation of a ‘wellness’ service. Health and wellbeing boards will be set up in local authorities to bring together representatives from the NHS, councils, GPs and patient groups to join up the public health agenda with the wider work of the NHS, social care and children’s services.

Patients and the public will also have a stronger voice through a new patient group, local HealthWatch - a ‘citizen’s advice bureau’ for health and social care to help ensure local plans fit community needs.

Dr. John Linnane, Joint Director of Public Health for NHS Warwickshire and Warwickshire County Council, said: “This White Paper sets out plans for Directors of Public Health to lead on public health at a local level with a strong focus on the health and wellbeing of local communities.

“The paper includes details of how public health will work alongside other local authority departments such as housing, transport and education to encourage a holistic approach to health and wellbeing.

We’re encouraging Warwickshire residents to read the consultation document and have their say on the future plans.”

Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Health, Councillor Bob Stevens, said: "Getting involved in the consultation could really help to make a difference in your community. This is your chance to shape the future of what your health service will look like and have an input into how services are delivered locally. As part of the proposals to re-shape public health, Warwickshire County Council will be responsible for scrutinising the delivery of services, so it’s important that people have their say to ensure that local plans take into account the needs of their community."

There are two other related consultations also running. Healthy Lives, Healthy People: consultation on the funding and commissioning routes for public health and Healthy Lives, Healthy People: transparency in outcomes, proposals for public health outcomes framework. Members of the public have until 31st March to respond to these.

The Public Health White Paper, the consultation into funding and commissioning and the consultation on the outcomes framework can all be found at http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Consultations/Liveconsultations/index.htm