Glasgow's search for a Director of Public Health is now underway complete with a renewed remit to work to tackle the city's high levels of poverty and ill-health. The successful candidate will be placed in the unique position of jointly working with the health board and the city council.
Chairman of NHS Greater Glasgow, Professor Sir John Arbuthnott, said:"The unique joint profile of health and local authority makes this post, in my opinion, the most challenging and important public health role appointment in the UK."
The joint working approach between the health board and the City Council makes this role one of the most unique in the UK.This is the first time that a Health Board director will also play a prominent role within the City Council.
Scotland's reputation as the "sick man of Europe" is no-where truer than in Glasgow. The city continually features in the top ten leagues for coronary heart disease, stroke, obesity, as well as a range of other smoking and alcohol-related diseases.Although many of these illnesses are being tackled in a range of initiatives across the city – figures for smoking-related illnesses are falling, cardiac health is improving and life expectancy is extending decade on decade.
However, both NHS Greater Glasgow and the City Council are concerned that these improvements are not happening quickly enough and are determined to improve the health and well-being of those living in the Glasgow and Clyde area even further.
Both organisations recognise that ill-health is indisputably linked to poverty, social deprivation and economic hardship.Any Director of Public Health needs to take all these factors into account, and work within the organisations best placed to inform, influence and direct policy to change and improve the city's health for people now and for future generations.The health board and the council say they will work together to tackle the high levels of poverty and ill-health in Glasgow.Both NHS Greater Glasgow and the City Council see the appointment of the new Director of Public Health as a major step in the this direction.
One of the first challenges the new Director of Public Health will face is narrowing the gap between those who live in more socially derived areas and those who live in the more affluent areas of the city.While health in Glasgow is improving generally, the post code gap is not narrowing
Chief Executive of NHS Greater Glasgow Tom Divers said: "NHS Greater Glasgow is already upping the ante on improving health in Greater Glasgow. The new Director of Public Health will work in partnership with the City Council to ensure health in Glasgow improves as fast as the rest of Scotland."
Councillor Steven Purcell from Glasgow City Council added: "This is an important post and I look forward to working with the new director of public health as we move forward in partnership to tackle poverty and ill-health in this city.
"Agencies across Glasgow are already working together to help transform the fortunes of our city and we are forging even closer ties with NHS Greater Glasgow.The appointment of the new director will only help to strengthen this."
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Notes to Editors
The position of Director of Public Health has come about following the appointment of Dr Harry Burns as Scotland's Chief Medical Officer.