Health Select Committee inquiry into Public Health 2011
The Terms of Reference for the inquiry were
"Public health is a vital, but too often neglected, aspect of the National Health Service. The current constraints on public finances make it more important than ever to limit and reduce the overall demand for NHS services by the public health goals of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health. At the same time, the aim of reducing health inequalities becomes ever more pressing as the burden of ill health falls in an increasingly disproportionate way on the poorest, as well as on other disadvantaged social groups.
It is also particularly important to review this topic at this time given that the Government is proposing major changes to the organisation of public health services, as part of its wider plans for reform of the NHS. These changes, which are being legislated for in the Health and Social Care Bill, were originally welcomed by those in the field but have subsequently become highly contentious. The Committee believes it is important that these plans be effectively scrutinised not least because of the importance of public health in ensuring that health services are commissioned effectively."
The BDA submitted evidence to the inquiry on the 10 March 2011.
The BDA strongly welcomes the objective of improving public health. We support the vision of a shift from treatment towards prevention of ill-health and the recognition of Professor Sir Michael Marmot‟s view that the wider social determinants of health must be addressed in order to tackle inequalities. The change in focus must also be underpinned by specific measures to prevent avoidable illness, and supported by an appropriatelystaffed NHS-based public health workforce.
We welcome the specific recognition of dental public health in the White Paper. This must translate into inclusion in local priority and strategy setting in all areas of the country, requiring full integration of dental public health with other health and social care structures and continuing dialogue between professionals.
The strengthening of public health outlined in the White Paper is supported. As Dental Public Health is a small specialty, it is important that Consultants in Dental Public Health are able to work in the most effective way across the three public health principles of health protection, health improvement and health services. Whilst it is essential there is Dental Public Health input into Local Authority Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNA), the majority of dental commissioning will be with the NHS Commissioning Board, where it is even more important to give advice. We feel that this can only be carried out from within the NHS and so support the model of a public health agency.
The BDA responded to the three government public health consultation exercises in early 2011.
The BDA, along with a reference group of Consultants in Dental Public Health, has produced a document outlining our vision for the future of dental public health.
We note that a sound strategy already exists for developing the Dental Public Health workforce in England, and we urge the Government to draw on this in consolidating its plans for the new arrangements.
Committee final report
The final report of the Committee was published on 19 October 2011.
BDA Dental Public Health Futures