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GP commissioners’ public health role revealed

Representatives from GP consortia will be required to sit on new wellbeing boards and have an 'explicit obligation' to prepare Joint Strategic Needs Assessments with local authorities.

The plans, revealed in yesterday's public health white paper Healthy Lives, Healthy People also spell out a role for Public Health England and the new NHS commissioning board to ensure GP consortia maximise their impact on improving population heath and reducing health inequalities.

Public Health England, the new Department of Health body, will be responsible for 15 per cent of current QOF funding.

At least £4 billion of public health budgets, previously routinely raided by PCTs, will now be ring-fenced.

Launching the plans yesterday, health secretary Andrew Lansley, said: ‘ People's health and wellbeing will be at the heart of everything local councils do. It's nonsense to think that health can be tackled on its own. Directors of Public Health will be able to champion local cooperation so that health issues are considered alongside housing, transport, and education.'

NHS Alliance chair, Dr Mike Dixon, welcomed the bill. He said: ‘It will be crucial to develop clear and effective two-way means of communication between local authorities, GP commissioning consortia and the local knowledge of the whole primary care team. Every good driver needs a well-functioning vehicle and a good routemap. Primary care and in particular list-based general practice will be a big part of this.'