To help inform the Government’s forthcoming Public Health White Paper, on 11 November the Council hosted a roundtable meeting with Government officials and leading experts to consider the role of central government in public health.

The event was framed around the Council’s 2007 report Public health: ethical issues, which set out guiding principles for making decisions about public health policies.

Participants at the meeting considered:
  • How far should the Government intervene in public health?

  • Where can the Government step back or play a different role?

  • What are the key ethical questions to be addressed?

Professor Albert Weale, Chair of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, chaired the meeting. Contributors included: David Harper, Director General of Health Improvement and Protection at the Department of Health, Tom Baldwin, Professor of Philosophy at York University, Julian Le Grand, Professor of Social Policy at the London School of Economics, and Catherine Law, Professor of Public Health and Epidemiology at University College London.

The meeting was one of a series of events on public health initiated by the Department of Health this autumn, bringing together leaders from the NHS, local government, business, professional bodies, academia and the charitable, independent and voluntary sectors.

The Government is expected to publish its Public Health White Paper for consultation by the end of 2010.

Find out more about the Council’s work on public health ethics.