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20/11/2019

Ed Huckle: My view on... public health

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Scientist Ed Huckle believes there is a pressing need to reconnect and harmonise public health and land use planning 

The modern planning regime originated from the recognised links between poor-quality living conditions, inadequate infrastructure and the adverse impacts on public health. Over time and for various reasons, these links have unfortunately eroded.

Considerable work by Public Health Wales (PHW) and various health boards in Wales has taken place over recent years to reverse this trend, highlighting the importance of increasing collaboration between spatial planning and health agencies.

A stakeholder survey undertaken in 2018 clearly highlighted a disconnect not only between planners and public health but also inconsistent dialogue within and beyond PHW. More encouragingly, 87 per cent of those surveyed wanted closer collaboration between the two disciplines.

PHW is currently working to formalise a pan-organisation mechanism for coordinating and delivering expert advice and support to better integrate health and wellbeing and a consideration of inequalities. Th is will include provision of a focal point for obtaining, coordinating and delivering information, direction and guidance to ensure sustainable collaboration.

Ed Huckle is principal environmental public health scientist for Public Health England. He is currently seconded one day a week to the Wales Health impact Assessment Support Unit, Public Health Wales.

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