Examination of Witnesses (Questions 560-569)|
TUESDAY 27 FEBRUARY 2002
560. On this occasion you did not get the opportunity
to give that advice in advance?
(Yvette Cooper) Not that I am aware of.
561. Are you taking steps to ensure that you
are included for matters in the future?
(Yvette Cooper) That is one of the aims of the cost-cutting
review on health and equality, to make sure we have structures
in place at a national and a local level that increasingly where
these health issues are raised in other departments that we have
the proper mechanisms in place to make sure everyone is consulted
in the right way. That is certainly our intention.
562. Is it possible to have a note on how that
will operate in the future?
(Yvette Cooper) It is hard for us to do that just
yet because the work is still in progress but as soon as we are
able to we will.
563. I do not like little phrases like that,
(Yvette Cooper) There is deadline for the cost-cutting
spending review, it is not a never-ending process.
564. What are we talking about?
(Yvette Cooper) The Comprehensive Spending Review
will report in July, at what point the work is completed between
now and July I cannot give you a precise time scale at the moment.
We can certainly give you information as soon as we can.
Chairman: I think we may return to that subject
565. What role do health authorities play in
drawing up road safety strategies and the targets in the local
transport plans? Should they have a bigger role, because I certainly
see the minutes from the three health authorities I deal with
and I cannot ever recall reading of their involvement in road
traffic plans? How do you see the role changing in the future
now that we are dealing with the primary care trusts and a much
larger and, perhaps, more complicated health bureaucracy?
(Yvette Cooper) I think from a health point of view
it is moving in the opposite direction, it should actually be
simpler and more local rather than introducing more bureaucracy,
that should be about taking away a layer of bureaucracy. What
you are doing is that in place of the health authorities you have
the primary care trusts which are based round the delivery of
primary care and GPs, and so on, in each local area and each of
these primary care trusts has to have a public health director.
The public health director being more locally based than the health
authorities should be well placed to work with local government
on exactly these kind of issues in the future, so the structure
should be improving to encourage that.
566. Are you saying the structure should be
or is at the present time?
(Yvette Cooper) It is improving and it should give
us more opportunities for closer working. The other thing that
has also happened is that the regional directors of public health
who used to be based in NHS regional offices are going to be based
in the government office of the regions so that means at a regional
level if you are looking at issues round transport you also have
the NHS tied into the local government structure at a regional
level, rather than being two parallel structures as has been the
case in the past.
567. Can I finally ask you one question, you
have a target in your health White Paper for a reduction in the
number of deaths by accident of 14 to 25 year olds, even in spite
of all this cost-cutting, since most of the responsibility lies
with other departments how are you going to achieve your target?
(Yvette Cooper) Yes. That is exactly why we set up
the cost-cutting health and equalities review because it does
come back to the same thing, because in the end a lot of the responsibility
for doing something is with other departments.
568. Minister, how are you going to do it? You
have your machinery, you set up your cross-cutting, how are you
going to do it, or is the target just a waste of space!
(Yvette Cooper) We also have the Accidental Injury
Task Force, which is due to report to the Chief Medical Officer
very shortly, which has been looking specifically at targets round
accidental injury and suggesting a series of interventions to
actually do that. That has come up with, I think, four priorities
areas that it has looked at, one round falls at or near home;
secondly round road accidents; thirdly round fires in the home
and fourthly round play and recreation, primarily round accidents
and injuries to children. I have not seen the Accidental Injury
Task Force Report, it has not come to ministers yet, and it is
just going to the Chief Medical Officer, but there will be more
than we can say to you when that reports as well.
569. Since we do not want to take up too much
of your time would you let us have a copy of your terms of reference
for your cross-cutting review?
(Yvette Cooper) Yes. 
Chairman: Then we can also ask you later what
you have achieved. You have been very helpful, Minister, thank
you very much.
1 Note by witness: HC Deb, 27 July 2000, Col 754W. Back