The chief executive of the UK Public Health Association (UKPHA) is urging all government departments to take responsibility for public health in an age of drug abuse, pollution and climate change.
Issues such as widening health inequalities, obesity and mental illness have made the UK's public health agenda headline news. But Angela Mawle, chief executive of UKPHA, warns that the great public health challenges of the 21st century can only be met through a recognition that responsibility does not rest solely with the Department of Health.
"We must keep an eye on the bigger picture and, in particular, on the links between sustainable development and public health as a whole," said Mawle. "For far too long, we have been on the back foot, sentimentally resting on the laurels of the great public health visionaries of the 19th century and unquestioningly accepting the consignment of public health into the National Health Service."