This is another in our series where researchers planning to use the archive outline their projects. This guest post is by Martin Gorsky of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Public Health in Local Government, 2001-2012: web representations and practices
Historiography What might the recent history of public health in local government tell us about the opportunities and challenges ahead? There is already a limited body of work examining the changes of 1974 from a national perspective, which argues that various problems had arisen. Post-war public health 'lost its way', lacking a clear philosophy and rationale at a time of rapidly changing health needs. It was also sidelined by other professional groups, delivering patchy services and failing to link effectively with the NHS. There is also a more recent history which is as yet unexamined. Since 2001, and gaining official force in 2006, the DH has championed the joint appointments of Directors of Public Health (DPH), to straddle both NHS primary care trusts and local authorities. The activities of these new appointees may give some interesting clues as to whether the structural and philosophical challenges of the earlier period retain their force or can be overcome.
Aim The project will therefore aim to identify the web presence of these joint appointment DPHs during the period from 2001 up until the passage of the recent Act. By reading these texts it will ask:
a. whether a coherent rationale for public health in a local government setting is discernible
b. what practices of joint working between NHS and local government are reported, and how the benefits of integration are represented.
Centre for History in Public Health, LSHTM