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Thursday, 11 April 2013

Public Health Plans make it to print in Ontario and BC

In the past two weeks, public health plans were released in Ontario and BC.  By the media coverage, it is obviously a noteworthy event as neither appears to have stimulated any public attention.   If you were to read both of these documents, you might think they were developed by sister teams looking at the same information.  Of course, that could be perceived as reassuring that within public health, there is concurrence on what we are trying to do.  Ontario Plan  and BC framework

On the other hand, it may also reflect that current deliverables are so short of the objectives that incremental planning needs to be laid out.  The documents are so broad that specific actions are so unclear that broad stroked high level plans are what is needed.   Neither document is earth shattering or remarkable new and could have been predominately written two decades ago.  While Ontario’s speaks of the need for big planning, BC’s was driven by a plethora of plans and a sense that a single overarching framework was needed. 

The good news is equity and reducing inequities takes a much bigger stage than previous documentation.   

Both touch on populations with greater needs or those that are exposed to greater risks.  While the language is politically correct, it is finally entrenched. 

While both seem comprehensive, look carefully at what is missing.  Both speak of the need for indicators that will be developed and what gets measured, gets modified.  The devil will be in the detail, and both documents lack those details. The BC plan provides for more specific short term targets, Ontario's a longer term strategic plan.  Ontario's directed at the public health community, BC's supposedly looking to a whole of government/society framework as the needed implementers.

They will make good overview documents for students of public health sciences as an introduction to the scope of work that needs to be done.  

The major concern with documents of this nature is the interpretation that these are the priority areas and anything not embraced in the plans becomes ripe for picking when resources get scarce.  

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