Abstracts: October 27th, 2003

This report from the Department of Health sets out the role for local authorities in improving the health of people 50 years old and over. The growth in the number of people in this age group will lead to a skills shortage, unless people can be encouraged to work longer, and to spiraling costs in public services, unless health and wellbeing can be improved. Inequalities in health and wellbeing are widening between the unskilled and professional groups.Local councils have been given powers to use their community leadership role to improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of their local populations. The Comprehensive Performance Assessment assesses performance in relation to their strategic role and their commissioning and service provision. Councils also have powers under the Local Government Act to improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of their local populations, and a duty to produce a community strategy that sets out how this will happen. The guidance provided to local authorities refers explicitly to health improvement.

The Report identifies barriers to involving local authorities in health improvement and outlines options for overcoming them. Barriers include a lack of indicators and performance target, confusion about who should lead in promoting health and active ageing and a lack of funding.

Published by Department of Health and available at: http://www.hda-online.org.uk/documents/midlife_localauth.pdf