COMMONS

Public Health

The Health Committee has issued an invitation to submit written evidence for its inquiry into Public Health. The deadline for submitting written evidence closed at noon on Monday 13 June 2011.

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.

In its inquiry, the Committee will consider:

• the creation of Public Health England within the Department of Health;
• the abolition of the Health Protection Agency and the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse;
• the public health role of the Secretary of State;
• the future role of local government in public health (including arrangements for the appointment of Directors of Public Health; and the role of Health and Wellbeing Boards, Joint Strategic Needs Assessments and Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies);
• arrangements for public health involvement in the commissioning of NHS services;
• arrangements for commissioning public health services;
• the future of the Public Health Observatories;
• the structure and purpose of the Public Health Outcomes Framework;
• arrangements for funding public health services (including the Health Premium);
• the future of the public health workforce (including the regulation of public health professionals); and
• how the Government is responding to the Marmot Review on health inequalities.

Guidance on submitting written evidence
It assists the Committee if those submitting written evidence adhere to the following guidelines:

Each submission should:

• state clearly who the submission is from, ie whether from yourself in a personal capacity (Submission from, eg, Miss Dee Dee Lee) or sent on behalf of an organisation (eg Submission from Insert Name Ltd)
• be no more than 3,000 words in length;
• as far as possible comprise a single document attachment to the email;
• begin with a short summary in bullet point form;
• have numbered paragraphs; and
• be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible (Reports are published in black and white).

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to healthcommem@parliament.uk and have the ‘Name of the inquiry’ in the Subject line.

Please supply a postal address so a copy of the Committee’s report can be sent to you upon publication.

It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals submitting written evidence would send their contact details separately in a covering email in a block of text laid out vertically (not horizontally). See example below:

eg: Miss Dee Dee Lee
London House
London Avenue
London SW00 0WW
Tel: 0000 000 0000 / Mob: 00000 000000
deedeelee105@xxxxxxx.uk

You should also be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Though there is a strong preference for emailed submissions, those without access to a computer should send a hard copy to:

Committee Assistant
Health Committee
Committee Office
House of Commons
7 Millbank
London SW1P 3JA

• A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at: Commons: Guide for Witnesses

Please also note that:

• Committees make public much of the evidence they receive during inquiries. If you do not wish your submission to be published, you must clearly say so. If you wish to include private or confidential information in your submission to the Committee, please contact the Clerk of the Committee to discuss this.

• Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed submission, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.

• Evidence submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.

• Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

• Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.

For up-to-date information on progress of the inquiry visit: http://www.parliament.uk/healthcom

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