Responding to the Government announcement on the creation of a new Office for Health Promotion to lead on national efforts to 'level up' the health of the nation, Dr Richard Jarvis, co-chair of the BMA Public Health Medicine committee said: “As we move beyond the pandemic it is crucial that the drivers of health inequalities such as obesity and mental health are addressed with sustained and targeted action.
“The creation of the Office for Health Promotion and within it a new cross-government ministerial board on prevention may signal the type of joined-up working needed to tackle these issues.
“The BMA has consistently called for reduced fragmentation of the public health system to allow more joined-up working, better links with and resources for public health teams in local authorities, and the ability to give high quality public health advice to communities, not just politicians. We hope to see these addressed as part of the reforms and will continue to campaign for these.
“There are also still serious concerns about the centralising of public health within the Department of Health.
“If we are to address serious public health problems such as obesity and mental health and truly ‘level up’ the nation’s health, we need to see a properly funded and co-ordinated public health system which, crucially, has the organisational independence to speak out when needed to improve and protect the health of the population.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.