The public health Green Paper, Our Healthier Nation, places emphasis on health inequalities. It recognises that the causes of ill health are directly related to social and economic factors and highlights the relationship between poverty and health. In its response to the Green paper the Local Government Association calls for national methods of monitoring progress in tackling these issues and says that targets must be integral to local Health Improvement Programmes.Rita Stringfellow, chair of the LGA’s social affairs and health committee said: ‘We need to find local solutions to our national health problems and the LGA is pleased that the government has recognised the important influence local authorities have on the health of their local communities.
‘The recent LGA audit of health and regeneration projects shows local government’s on-going commitment to improving public health. The new duty for local authorities to promote the social and economic wellbeing of their communities, will enable them to further develop this work.
‘Effective partnerships which involve local people will be a crucial aspect of the success of this initiative and we welcome the paper’s emphasis on partnerships both within local government and externally with health and voluntary bodies. Politicians and health professionals must listen to communities and this Green Paper gives us the flexibility to do that’, she said.