British Medical Journal Article: Public Health Funding and Workforce

March 28, 2014 in ADPH Updates, PH Funding, PH Workforce by admin

THE BMJ published an article on March 27th concerning Public Health Funding and Workforce within Local Authorities, to view the article please click here. The Association of Directors of Public Health has responded to the article and the response is set out below:

ADPH response to BMJ Feature: Raiding the public health budget

Responding to the issues raised in the article, Dr Janet Atherton, President of the Association of Directors of Public Health said “Public health responsibilities have transferred into local government at a particularly challenging time financially for councils. This makes it more important than ever that the ring-fenced public health grant is used well to achieve the best health outcomes and value for money. Using this funding effectively will help councils and the health system more widely to manage increasing demand for high cost health and social care interventions. The pattern of spend within the public health grant should rightly change over time, by decommissioning services that are not achieving good outcomes and reinvesting in higher priority areas. Many of the case studies given in the BMJ article are examples of this happening in practice.

Strong stable leadership of public health will help councils address the very real challenges they face effectively. ADPH continues to be concerned about the high level of acting and interim DPH appointments (about 25% of posts), and vacancies within public health teams that mean that some councils are at a real disadvantage when it comes to delivering their public health functions. Whilst support has been provided for aspiring Director of Public Health programmes and some posts have been filled, the number of vacancies remains high and this has to be a priority for action. It is important that posts in local government are designed to attract and retain the best staff in a scarce market.”