The use or uselessness of annual public health reports

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7148.1904 (Published 20 June 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1904

Response from author of report

  1. Ann Davies, Associate researcher
  1. Institute for Public Policy Research, London WC2E 7RA
  2. Somerset Health Authority, Taunton TA1 2DN

    EDITOR—I scarcely recognise my paper Reporting the Public Health from reading Scally's editorial. 1 2 I do not argue for centralisation of funding, merely that the budget for the production and dissemination of annual reports should be administered, and thereby ring fenced as a protected public health function, by the minister for public health. This could elevate the exercise in those authorities where it has often been done on the cheap with little attention to impact. It would also prevent any further merging of annual public health reports with those of health authorities. In other words, it would safeguard their independence.

    Scally is therefore wrong to suggest that the net effect of several of my recommendations would be to reduce the independence of the public health report. The whole thrust of my report is towards a more independent public health function. In arguing for …

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