The emphasis on public health and prevention in the new NHS five year forward view has been welcomed by Cambridgeshire County Council health chiefs.

The Chairs of the Cambridgeshire County Council Health Committee and County's Health and Wellbeing Board also want the authority and the local NHS to rise to the challenge.

The plan which was produced by NHS England, Public Health England and the CQC, outlines the priorities and challenges facing providers of health services across the country.

The Health Committee will be looking closely at the new plans. In particular, it will be encouraging local commissioners and providers of healthcare and other public services to show that they have fully embraced this message and will be taking action.

Councillor Kilian Bourke, Chairman of the Health Committee said: "It is very welcome that the five year plan focuses so sharply on public health and its importance to making our NHS sustainable. Everyone knows this but it has never been stated so clearly."

"The bottom line is that health problems associated with smoking, drinking and obesity are a serious drain on NHS resources and the system must become much more proactive in enabling people to take better care of their health."

"The County Council has a key role to play, given the recent transfer of public health to local government. Uniquely in the UK, to the best of my knowledge, we have created a dedicated health committee to tackle these challenges head-on.

"As well as ongoing preventive work on weight management, smoking prevention and cessation and alcohol we have set local priorities that include improving mental health, tackling Cambridgeshire's health inequalities and exploring how transport and planning can be used to improve health outcomes across the county.
 
"However the real prize isn't what one committee can do in isolation, it is what can be achieved if the whole public services system can embed improving health outcomes across their organisations and the services they provide. There is certainly plenty of room for improvement here.

"It won't be easy to achieve this system-wide transformation, particularly in the current financial environment, but the alternatives are bleak. If we can put public health at the heart of public services we can protect our health service and improve people's quality of life across Cambridgeshire."

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Tony Orgee, Chairman of the County's Health and Well-Being Board, added: "I welcome Simon Steven's plan as it recognises the key challenges and funding issues facing Public Health across the country and here in Cambridgeshire. Locally we will be focusing on making sure local public services rise to challenge of working in an integrated way when it comes to health outcomes for the county. Above all, we want to urge the NHS, the County Council and other local health providers to tackle the health inequalities facing some of our communities."

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