Editorials

The use or uselessness of annual public health reports

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7117.1173 (Published 08 November 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:1173

Time to rise to the challenge of a new role for public health

  1. Gabriel Scally, Regional director of public healtha
  1. a South and West Regional Office of the NHS Executive, Bristol BS12 6SR

    In the mid 1980s an inquiry into the development of the public health function was established in response to two major outbreaks of communicable disease. The report of the inquiry, chaired by the then Chief Medical Officer of England, Sir Donald Acheson, recommended, among other things, that “community medicine” should be renamed “public health medicine” and that each health authority should appoint a director of public health, who should produce a report on the health of the authority's population each year.1 After almost 10 years of annual reports from directors of public health the Institute for Public Policy Research has published a review of their purpose and form.2

    Anne Davies's review is timely because of the huge amount of public health activity taking place nationally. Not only has England its first ever …

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