HC Deb 22 April 2002 vol 384 cc112-3W
Mr. Boswell

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on(a) the statutory responsibility for public health matters, (b) the responsibility for preventative action in support of public health and (c) the funding responsibility for these functions in cases where the boundary of a primary care trust is not wholly within or consistent with the boundary of a proposed strategic health authority. [43136]

Yvette Cooper

[holding answer 18 March 2002]: We have set out in "Shifting the Balance of Power: the Next Steps" the public health functions and responsibilities of NHS bodies. Necessary and appropriate legislation and regulations to implement these functions are being laid before Parliament.

The NHS Reform and Health Care Professions Bill currently before Parliament includes a requirement for each primary care trust to have a director of public health as a board member. This will form part of a public health delivery system which will have a strong public health team in every PCT focused on improving health, preventing serious illness and reducing health inequalities in the populations served to ensure maximum improvement to health through prevention and other interventions.

In future the intention is that allocations will be made direct to primary care trusts subject to the passage of legislation through Parliament. PCTs will receive an allocation for their relevant population. Therefore the small number of PCTs who have partial co-terminosity with strategic health authorities will not be affected adversely nor will their use of funding to support public health programmes locally.

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