Islington and Camden councils to share director of public health

Islington Council could get cash to tackle high-levels of obesity and smoking deaths after the government placed local authorities in charge of public health.

In the hugely controversial NHS Reform Bill passed in April, the coalition scrapped Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) which managed public health functions.

The changes mean that from April next year Islington and Camden councils will share a director of public health, a position which promotes healthy lifestyles and spends money on issues such as the high number of smokers, teenage pregnancies or obese residents.

Shirley Franklin, chairman of the Islington Hands off Our Public Service Coalition, said: “It is obscene for a private individual to make money from our health needs so we welcome an authority rather than a company running public health services.

“But we feel it should stay the same because it just creates another expensive layer of service.”

Cllr Janet Burgess, Islington Council’s executive member for health and social care, said that the authority already works closely with Islington PCT and that both have developed ways of tackling “historic chronic health inequalities” in Islington.

She added: “I look forward to welcoming further improvements for both boroughs’ residents.”

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A spokesman for NHS North Central London said: “The proposed merger of the Camden and Islington public health departments aims to make the best use of the staff and money, transferring to local authorities in order to secure the greatest return in health improvement for residents of both boroughs.”

Members of the Islington Council approved the proposals for a single director at their meeting on Tuesday.