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Long term effect of reduced pack sizes of paracetamol on poisoning deaths and liver transplant activity in England and Wales: interrupted time series analyses

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f403 (Published 07 February 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f403

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Re: Long term effect of reduced pack sizes of paracetamol on poisoning deaths and liver transplant activity in England and Wales: interrupted time series analyses

Hawton and colleagues [1] illustrate the value of wise, National regulation (in this case control over the dispensing of pills widely used for self poisoning). The present Government abhors such National standards for health and now delegates mental health protection to individual councils within its Localism agenda. Key professionals within the public health workforce are in the process of moving from the NHS to local authorities. Local authorities already have statutory powers in key areas related to suicide: abuse and bullying in childhood, loss of employment within the local economy, hazardous drinking, public transport safety and homelessness.

A recent report on the inadequacy and inequality of Local Suicide Prevention Plans [2] uses one word frequently: 'Leadership'. This year 152 Directors of Public Health become responsible for health leadership in English councils. Some will inherit good suicide prevention plans and enthusiastic local champions, but for many others there is an urgent need for proactive leadership. Ensuring good quality health intelligence and identifying local community assets just might help these DPHs begin leading, in the right direction?

[1] Hawton K, Bergen H, Simkin S, Dodd S, Pocock P, Bernal W, Gunnell D, Kapur N. Long term effect of reduced pack sizes of paracetamol on poisoning deaths and liver transplant activity in England and Wales: interrupted time series analyses. BMJ 2013;346:f403

[2] All Party Parliamentary Group on Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention. The Future of Local Suicide Prevention Plans in England. London, 2013.

Competing interests: A public health advisor to the All Party Parliamentary Group on suicide prevention

17 February 2013
Woody Caan
Editor
Journal of Public Mental Health
Hurdles Way, Duxford CB22 4PA