Local public health changes affecting activity
In January the Government officially announced a £5.45 billion two-year ring-fenced public health budget for local authorities.
By transferring the responsibility from the NHS to local authorities, they are tasked from April 2013 with taking the lead for improving the health of their local communities. This will improve health and wellbeing by tackling the wider determinants of poor health such as housing, planning, licensing, transport and leisure access. See full details of ring fenced public health allocations for 2013-14 and 2014-15.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said:
‘By putting local authorities in charge of public health, we are giving them the power, freedom and the funding to tackle the issues that blight their local areas and help improve the lives of their local community’
Local councils have set up Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), which are groups of GPs who will be responsible for designing local health services and commissioning or buying health and care services. London Westminster’s City Council have launched a report -a dose of localism the role of councils in public health in which they recommend that councils design innovative services that embed public health across service areas. For example, better planning of public health services in order to improve health and wellbeing and prescription of leisure activities that raise activity levels.
IFI Mark gyms are better placed than most leisure facilities to support GPs to prescribe physical activities to patients. This is due to your improved access, accessible equipment and trained staff. The recommendations are that CCGs need to make GPs aware of the strength of the local authority provision, through relationships with CCG Chairs on Health and Wellbeing Boards. Then, lobby for prescription of leisure activities within their service level agreements. Such partnerships will deliver benefits to both GPs and local authorities.
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