Memorandum by Avon NHS Health Authority
1. This memorandum summarises key issues
identified by the inter-agency Working Group on the Future of
Public Health in the Avon area. The Working Group was established
by Avon Health Authority in January 2000, took evidence from 33
local witnesses and produced an Interim Report in March 2000 (annexed).
2. There was widespread consensus among
witnesses and within the Working Group on the principles which
define public health work:
goals which involve population health
strategies which cover the broad
range of what determines health in a population; and
active interventions involving communities
themselves and many disciplines in several organisations.
3. We agreed a statement of vision:
Our vision is the establishment of a strong
and mutually supportive network involving communities and public
health specialists and practitioners working in a collaborative
partnership to improve the health of the population.
4. There was strong commitment from stakeholders
for the public health function and a valuing of public health
skills. The critical issue identified in our deliberations was
how these valued but scarce skills could be developed within and
extended across new NHS primary care organisations.
5. The Working Group made a number of recommendations
relevant to the Health Committee's Inquiry, including:
the Public Health Directorate be
maintained as a central public health resource based at the Health
Authority of the entire Avon health community;
all public health specialists from
the Public Health Directorate be outposted to PCTs for an average
of 0.2 wte each;
planning should commence for the
new role of PCT public health lead, to be developed and funded
from new resources; and
the PCT public health lead should
co-ordinate a public health team drawing on health and Local Authority
practitioners, outposted public health specialists and health
promotion specialists and the PCT information analyst(s).
6. Our deliberations were based on the assumption
that the Government's new public health agenda could only be delivered
with a significant investment in the development of public health
capacity (particularly within Primary Care Trusts) including longer
term support for public health education and training and significant
increased recruitment to the field.
7. The health community across Avon would
welcome guidance from the Health Committee on ways in which public
health skills and capacity can be enhanced to improve the health
of our communities.