The Department of Health last week announced a new publication “Unlocking the energy within communities to improve health”, based on the results of a project titled ‘Communities for Health’. This project was designed to inspire communities to improve residents health through diverse initiatives. In 2008/2009 alone this project granted funding of £11 million to more than 80 local authorities with a further £9 million in 2009/2010. This has funded a variety of peer support groups, local partnerships and a “right snack” initiative to encourage pre-school children to eat more healthy snacks.
The support given to local government to tackle health inequalities is commendable, but the question remains who really is responsible for our health? We could also question the level of support committed to this kind of project. With regard to funding and consistency, does this project have the level of commitment it requires to succeed? Why only has it been delivered in some areas?
2020health is researching responsibility in healthcare, and though any support for preventative health initiatives is welcome, this project feels somewhat misguided in that the intiatives don’t feel innovative enough. Choice is key, but this feels limited in its capacity to deal with the responsibility of delivering health choices and promoting health.