Published: 30/09/2004, Volume II4, No. 5925 Page 8

The government has been urged to appoint a public health Cabinet minister to ensure wider determinants of ill health are tackled across all departments.

A paper published this week jointly by the NHS Confederation, the Local Government Association and the UK Public Health Association says that the new post is necessary to 'drive forward a revolution in public health' and to 'shift the government's present focus on acute NHS treatment to a broader approach tackling the root causes of ill-health'.

These included poverty, housing, diet and pollution.

'Just as the NHS must not operate in isolation, so should public health policy be the responsibility of the entire government, not just the Department of Health, ' said NHS Confederation chief executive Dr Gill Morgan.

'Only this inclusive approach will make the real difference that will improve the health of the entire population.'