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Health Act 1999

Section 28: Plans for improving health etc.

222.This section makes provision for the preparation of local plans for improving the health of and the provision of health care to the local population. It gives statutory underpinning to the development of Health Improvement Programmes as set out in The new NHS and Putting Patients First.

223.Subsection (1) lays a statutory requirement on Health Authorities to prepare plans to improve the health of and provision of health care to their populations, and subsections (3) and (4) lay a duty on Primary Care Trusts, NHS trusts, and local authorities to participate in their preparation. Subsection (7) provides that all the parties are required to have regard to their local plan in exercising their functions.

224.The Health Improvement Programme process is intended to engage local communities and voluntary bodies, employers, educational establishments and others. Accordingly, subsection (5)(b) provides for this, while subsection (5)(a) enables the Secretary of State if necessary to direct that particular parties are involved. The Act does not prescribe in detail the processes for developing Health Improvement Programmes, so that local partners can develop their own local arrangements. The Secretary of State’s powers of direction under subsections (5)(a) and (6) mean however that it will be possible to prescribe particular aspects of the process if necessary. For example, should there be difficulty in securing proper involvement of voluntary organisations in the Health Improvement Programme process, the power to direct NHS bodies and local authorities offers a safeguard.

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