Select Committee on Health Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Appendix II



  1.1  Awareness of public health issues has over the past 12 months been raised both nationally and locally.

  1.2  The Government has issued two papers, a White Paper entitled "The New NHS", and a Green Paper, "Our Healthier Nation". There have also been two reports one by the Chief Medical Officer outlining the emerging findings of a "Project to Strengthen the Public Health Function in England" and in December 1998 Sir Donald Acheson's (former Chief Medical Officer's) report was published following the independent inquiry into Inequalities in Health.

  1.3  All the documents highlight the importance of a partnership approach to improving the public health and they stress the importance of addressing the inequalities in health and targeting the resources to these poorer areas of the community where the effects of poor health are most marked.

  1.4  The reports also highlight the important, and in some areas, statutory, role that local authorities have in the public health agenda. They recognise the vital contribution that local authority services can make in this area.


  2.1  In December 1997 West Kent Health Authority (WKHA) consulted with other agencies and individuals with a proposal to bid for Government funding for Health Action Zone (HAZ) status for the Thames Gateway area.

  2.2  Gravesham Council was consulted on the proposals and following a report to Policy and Finance Committee signalled its agreement to be a partner in the proposal.

  2.3  The HAZ bid was unsuccessful, but as part of the HAZ network multi-agency Health Regeneration Teams (HRTs) have been set up across North Kent.

  2.4  Gravesham HRT is co-ordinated and chaired by an officer from Gravesham Borough Council and Members of the Council, as well as officers, have been appointed to it.

  2.5  The HRT has progressed work through its steering group and has identified four main project areas to be progressed during 1999:

    2.5.1  specific local projects in Riverside and Northfleet West Wards;

    2.5.2  extended use of education facilities and educational projects;

    2.5.3  the development and bid for a Healthy Living Centre, possibly based at the Community hospital site; and

    2.5.4  extended work in the community, identifying community workers who could assist and specific work on ethnic health issues.

  2.6  The Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley locality Healthcare Partnerships Primary Care Group, together with WKHA has provided between £10-15,000 to Gravesham Borough Council to use for HRT project work during 1999.

  2.7  The Council has, as part of its community involvement in health issues organised a public consultation meeting on health issues and the responses received as part of that exercise having highlighted those areas in which the community itself see the Council having a role.


  3.1  WKHA has a statutory duty to draw up, in consultation with local authorities and other interested parties a rolling three year HIMP.

  3.2  The HIMP seeks to identify the health needs of the local people and provide strategic plans of action in order to meet these needs.

  3.3  The first draft of WKHA HIMP has been sent out on consultation and following a report to Health Services Review Panel the Council's positive response has been sent to the Health Authority.

  3.4  Further consultation will be undertaken by WKHA and both the work of Gravesham's HRT and the results of the Public Consultation will be a useful contribution to the final document.


  4.1  The Council has over the past 12 months demonstrated its commitment to health regeneration and public health matters in general by:

    (a)  commissioning research by Greenwich University into poverty and social exclusion in the Borough;

    (b)  actively supporting the HAZ bid and the setting up of the Health Regeneration Teams;

    (c)  agreeing to co-ordinate and lead the Gravesham HRT;

    (d)  appointing Members of the Council as well as officers to the HRT;

    (e)  holding a public consultation meeting to seek the views of its community on health issues; and

    (f)  agreeing to an "audit" of all Council services.

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