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The primacy of politics: the rise and fall of evidence-based public health policy?

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Clare Bambra



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


This editorial reflects on the apparent rise and the potential fall of the use of evidence in English public health policy. Over the last 20 years, there has been increasing reference to evidence within policy circles both nationally and locally. However, in 2013, a series of national decisions about plain packaging, alcohol pricing and the NHS Health Checks scheme, as well as the move of public health into local authorities, have acted as reminders of the long-standing cultural differences between researchers and policy-makers and the primacy of political priorities. This editorial reflects on these issues and concludes by discussing the future prospects of evidence-based public health policy and the normative relationship between evidence and politics in a democratic system.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bambra C

Publication type: Editorial

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Public Health

Year: 2013

Volume: 35

Issue: 4

Pages: 486-487

Print publication date: 01/12/2013

Online publication date: 01/12/2013

ISSN (print): 1741-3842

ISSN (electronic): 1741-3850

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/pubmed/fdt113