Council to look after public health


- Credit: Archant

NORTH Somerset Council will be responsible for tackling issues like obesity, sexual health, smoking and binge drinking in the future - and a grant of more than £7million will help.

On Monday the local authority will take on responsibility for public health from NHS North Somerset.

The change follows the introduction of the Government’s Health and Social Care Act 2012.

New council responsibilities may include commissioning services to improve chances to quit smoking and local initiatives to improve nutrition.

It will have to provide services such as the national child measurement programme, NHS health checks and sexual health services and health protection plans.

North Somerset Council will receive a ring-fenced one-off grant from the Government, the first of £7.4miliion, to deliver the public health agenda, carry out health protection functions and provide healthcare advice to commissioners.

The change has seen 34 members of staff transfer from NHS North Somerset to the council.

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A new national body, Public Health England, has also been set up to guide policy, and a health and a well-being board has been established in every council area.

Council leader Nigel Ashton said: “Taking on these new responsibilities will strengthen our efforts to tackle health problems in our local community, such as early deaths from cancer, heart disease and mental health problems.

“Over the coming months we will be developing a plan setting out how we intend to improve health by combining existing programmes with those of Public Health England to provide a comprehensive and cost-effective service.”

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