The government is being urged to beef up its public health initiatives, including imposing a ban on workplace smoking and curbing junk food advertising aimed at children.
The call comes from the Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association, which was commenting on the consultation document, Choosing Health.
The CPHVA is concerned that Choosing Health is focusing on individuals rather than the broader, inter-agency approach to public health. ‘The document has taken a rather dictatorial approach with no real sense of a partnership approach.’
The CPHVA would like to see:
better information for individuals being provided through telephone helplines and NHS Direct, to help them make informed choices, particularly for groups where English is not the first language, people with learning disabilities, older people and the young
The CPHVA strongly feels the work of health visitors and school nurses in the community should be given greater recognition and that they should get similar resources as high profile schemes, such as Sure Start.
The CPHVA said: ‘Health visitors and school nurses are ideally placed to work with children and families at a local level and should be key players in any community development work.’
The CPHVA’s Lead Professional Officer (Health Visiting), Obi Amadi said: ‘Since 1997, we have fully supported the government’s public health programme. However, we would like the government to go further and faster down the road to better public health, than Choosing Health indicates will be the case.’
‘The fact that obesity is turning from a problem into a crisis is a telltale sign why more stringent public health measures are needed. This is not the case of ‘the nanny state’ taking over peoples’ lives, but common sense so that people live longer and healthier.’