NICE support for local government with new briefings on value-for-money public health actions
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence today (Wednesday 25 July) publishes the first titles in a new suite of public health advice to support local government. With councils taking on a wider remit for public health in communities from April 2013, the new NICE ‘Local Government Public Health Briefings' will aim to make it easier for councillors and local authority staff to find out which public health actions are most effective in improving health while also providing the best value for money.
The first three topics covered are tobacco, physical activity and workplace health, and are based on recommendations from existing NICE public health and clinical guidance on these areas. The briefings have been developed with input from the independent Local Government Reference Group which comprises councillors, local government officers, and others with an interest in community health and wellbeing.
Professor Mike Kelly, Director of the Centre for Public Health Excellence at NICE said: “NICE public health guidance sets out what works best to keep communities healthy - actions which also often save money both in the short and long-term. So we're delighted to be publishing the first of a new range of briefings which summarise our main guidance recommendations, and which are specifically tailored to support local government in its expanded role. The Local Government Public Health Briefings highlight why each topic is an important issue to tackle and how local communities will benefit as a result, presented along with examples of good practice and quick facts and figures to make a case for action.
“Given the current economic climate it's more important than ever to make best use of limited funds, and research clearly shows the value of public health action and its potential to save resources while improving health. We hope that this practical advice will be useful to local government as it tackles its new public health responsibilities.”
Examples of effective recommendations highlighted in the new briefings include:
- Tobacco: ensuring that environmental health and trading standards services prioritise tobacco control; making your organisation an exemplar in smokefree policies and in the support provided to help employees stop smoking; involving local communities and target groups in encouraging people to stop smoking
- Physical activity: making local facilities and services easily accessible by foot or bike; promoting active travel to schools, colleges and other workplaces; designing new developments to encourage physical activity
- Workplace health: offering advice in the workplace to improve employees' wellbeing, and to address specific, often work-related conditions such as musculoskeletal disorders and stress; encouraging a leadership and management style that supports and improves people's mental wellbeing; supporting a culture of healthy eating, such as providing affordable choices that can contribute to a healthy diet in canteens and vending machines.
Phillip Woodward, former Local Authority Chief Executive and Chair of the independent Local Government Reference Group which guided the development of the briefings, said: “We hope these new briefings will make it easier for Directors of Public Health, elected members and senior officers in local authorities to find out which public health actions are most effective while also providing the best value for money. The briefings are produced with input from a broad range of stakeholders and professionals, as well as community members and leaders, so we envisage that this advice will assist local government in developing tailored effective approaches to improve the health of their local populations.”
The Local Government Public Health Briefings are available at http://www.nice.org.uk/localgovernment/.
Notes to Editors
About the new Local Government Public Health Briefings
1. The first briefings are published on 25 July 2012. Please contact the NICE Press Office for copies.
2. This new area of work to support local government is in addition to NICE's ongoing programme producing public health guidance.
3. Research published last year (Owen, L., Morgan, A., Fischer, A., Ellis, S., Hoy, A., Kelly, M.P. (2011) The cost effectiveness of public health interventions, Journal of Public Health; doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdr075) showed that 85% of public health interventions were cost-effective at a threshold of £20,000 per quality-adjusted life year - this is considerably less than the extra cost per unit of health gained that the NHS often pays for clinical interventions, such as drug treatments.
4. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance and standards on the promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health
5. NICE produces guidance in three areas of health:
- public health - guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention of ill health for those working in the NHS, local authorities and the wider public and voluntary sector
- health technologies - guidance on the use of new and existing medicines, treatments, medical technologies (including devices and diagnostics) and procedures within the NHS
- clinical practice - guidance on the appropriate treatment and care of people with specific diseases and conditions within the NHS
6. NICE produces standards for patient care:
- quality standards - these reflect the very best in high quality patient care, to help healthcare practitioners and commissioners of care deliver excellent services
- Quality and Outcomes Framework - NICE develops the clinical and health improvement indicators in the QOF, the Department of Health scheme which rewards GPs for how well they care for patients
7. NICE provides advice and support on putting NICE guidance and standards into practice through its implementation programme, and it collates and accredits high quality health guidance, research and information to help health professionals deliver the best patient care through NHS Evidence.
This page was last updated: 24 July 2012