Health policy needs to be rebalanced to make it more focused on improving health not just health care
Government policy on public health is too heavily concentrated on acute care, hospitals and beds and the numbers of doctors and nurses, an influential committee of MPs has said.
The Health Select Committee report on public health, published in March, found there was a need to achieve a better balance in health policy between health and health care.
There was a "strong" case for rebalancing health policy, and making it more focused on improving health, not just on health care.
MPs also suggested there was "confusion surrounding the leadership of public health at every level" and called on the Minister for Public Health, Yvette Cooper, to be given the freedom "to demonstrate more positive and public leadership for improving health and reducing health inequalities".
"We consider that insufficient attention has been given to the application of knowledge and practice in public health.
"For too long the public health function has been dominated by a culture, mindset and training scheme which stresses the epidemiology and science of public health, rather than its practice in bringing about change," the committee said.
There was also too great an emphasis on "top-down" targets and performance agreements, and stronger incentives were needed to give health improvement priority, it added.
The report came at the same time as the Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Liam Donaldson, published his report on the Government's project to strengthen the public health function.
This stressed new mechanisms for co-ordination and communication were already under way.