What is the Department of Health for? For promoting health of course. But exactly whose health is being promoted?
The objectives of the Department of Health are these:
- Better health and well-being for all: helping people stay healthy and well; empowering people to live independently; and tackling health inequalities.
- Better care for all: the best possible health and social care that offers safe and effective care, when and where people need it; and empowering people in their choices.
- Better value for all: delivering affordable, efficient and sustainable services; contributing to the wider economy and the nation.
That all seems fine. But it seems that the very last phrase (the one about’ contributing to the economy’) may have got the upper hand. Does the new coalition government want to promote the well-being of companies over that of people? In the composition of the new ‘responsibility deal networks’ which are meant to look after a range of health issues such as obesity, alcohol and fast food issues, companies have pride of place.
On top of that guarantees seem to have already been given that neither price nor legislation will be used to change behaviour.
The question must be whether there will be any change of behaviour at all.