11:14am Monday 25th March 2013
Hampshire council chiefs are poised to take over responsibility for public health in Hampshire from the NHS.
Cabinet is today expected to approve plans to spend £36.7m allocated by the Department of Health for Hampshire in 2014-15.
Most of the ring-fenced grant is earmarked for services but £7.1m is unallocated and the Conservative-run council can decide how it should be spent.
Areas which are expected to be targeted include alcohol and drug abuse, preventative health checks for adults with long-term conditions, school nursing and the “obesity epidemic.”
A council report hailed the public health grant as “good news for Hampshire” because it will enable closer working with the NHS.
However Hampshire has only received £27 per head of population compared to £59 in Southampton, £42 on the Isle of Wight and £75 in Portsmouth, according to a league table compiled by Labour MP John Heasley.
Hampshire is near the bottom of the table of local authority health grants. Top is the City of London at £192 per head of population and bottom is Surrey County Council with £20.
A report to Cabinet said the allocation showed public health funding in Hampshire has been historically low.
The shake-up comes after the Health and Social Care Act 2012 transferred responsibility for health improvement to upper tier and unitary authorities from April 1, 2013.
Some 28 NHS staff have transferred to the county council with two posts currently vacant.
Statutory responsibilities include sexual health services, including testing for sexually transmitted diseases and contraception as well as free health checks for people aged between 40 and 74 with long-term conditions.
Meanwhile discretionary services include alcohol and drug misuse, smoking cessation, mental health, dental, community safety and the prevention of violence.
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