When I spoke recently at the first annual Public Health England conference, I described it as a very special conference. It was a special conference, I said, because it finally marked the completion of the public health family in England. For the first time, we've brought together the health protection group, the health improvement group and local government. We've brought together people from the former National Treatment Agency, the Public Health Observatories, the intelligence networks and many more. Public health consultants, dentists, nurses, even a few health economists – finally, we’re all together.
That diversity was reflected in the conference’s programme as well. Over the two days we had sessions on fields that, at a glance, would seem almost so disparate as to be unrelated. What they all had in common, though, was actually a very singular goal: the improvement of the public’s health. Whether it was tackling antimicrobial resistance, preparing for the winter flu season, mental health, alcohol and tobacco, or the crucial underlying determinants of jobs, homes and social connections, the goal of the conference and everyone there was to talk about how we can contribute to people living longer, healthier lives.
In a lot of ways, you could see this blog – which I have the honour of launching – as an extension of that conference. We’ll have a lot of different people contributing their views, about what may seem a dizzying array of topics, but in truth they’re all going to be about how we, the public health family, can improve the health of the public.
It’s a real privilege for me to be able to welcome you all to this new blog, Public Health Matters, and I look forward to contributing my own thoughts to it from time to time. In the meantime, I'd love to hear your thoughts - about this blog, about the conference, or about the future of public health in this country in general, now that we're all together in one big family.