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Social determinants of health and the role of local government

Author(s)

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION

Publisher(s):

Local Government Association

Publication year:

2020

This report explores what local government can do to improve health especially by tackling social determinants. Health improvement has always been a fundamental responsibility of local government and this was emphasised further with the transfer of public health responsibilities in 2013. The report argues that there is little use in simply treating people for a health condition if the cause of that condition is not also addressed. Tackling social determinants includes improvements in housing, education and employment as well as ensuring a health promoting environment. Each of the social determinants of health can be improved to give an overall improvement in the health and wellbeing of communities. The roles that local government undertakes to improve health through tackling social determinants include: civic leadership; as employer and anchor institution; securing services; planning and licensing; as champion of prevention. Local government actions and services are centred around the improvement of wellbeing and the prevention of poor outcomes – this is true for children’s services, adult social care and economic development among many others. Opportunities for health improvement by tackling the social determinants of health have been taken up across the country – the report includes detailed examples and case studies illustrating the opportunities for health improvement and what has already been achieved. (Edited publisher abstract)


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