Monday, December 04, 2006

Chapter 16 - The Future of the NHS

This is a summary of chapter 16 - The Future of Public Health, written by Professor Griffiths. He was the regional director of public health for the West Midlands Regional Health Authority until his retirement in May 2004 and is currently the President of the Faculty of Public Health. He was awarded the CBE in 2000.

In this chapter he discusses the three aspects of public health.
1) Health promotion.
He Comments on the recent parliamentary vote in England to ban smoking in all enclosed public places as a landmark decision. He hails it as a success for public health but warns that there is still more work to be done towards health promotion.
2) Health protection
He explains that health protection involves surveillance of infectious disease, environmental hazards and interventions intended to control outbreaks and incidents. Controlling an outbreak of infectious disease requires public health workers to be part of multidisciplinary teams, understanding ststatistics, epidemiology, social sciences and the arts. The diversity of workers from a variety of backgrounds in public health has enriched the specialty enormously. It is also necessary to remember the importance of international collaboration. This has been highlighted recently by avian influenza (bird flu), where WHO collaboration around the world identifing new infectious agents in a matter of weeks and greatly continues to assist in controlling measures.
3) Service improvement
He warns that the required close relationship with statutory organisations makes public health vulnerable to politicians reorganising the system. He highlights that NHS reorganisation can disrupt the important work of public health leading to a net loss of capacity.

He hopes that in the future there will be a more stable pattern of authorities retained for a longer period, to let the public health workers get on with their jobs.

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1 comment:

Editorial said...

Public healthcare has got to be one of the most important areas.