This is a really tedious and tl;dr post. Sorry. They've put out a green paper on public health, which you can read here:
I've only skimmed it so far, but the overall message seems deeply confused to me. 3 main points are set out:
1. Reduce health inequalities
2. Use social psychology and behavioural economics to bring about behaviour change
3. Decentralise, decentralise, decentralise
Points 1 & 2 are happening right now. Public health research has been putting considerable emphasis on about reducing health inequalities for a while now, and psychology and health having been moving closer together for some time too: for example, the introduction of the National Centre for Social Marketing.
So these are not innovations; what's interesting is that they aren't even right-wing ideas. Reducing health inequalities isn't about making service worse for the better-off: it's about bringing up the bottom rung of the ladder, which costs money however you look at it. The use of psychology and behavioural economics is a deeply centralised idea; and the way that these ideas have to be effectively put into practice involve standard-operating procedures, audits, health economic evaluations, etc. This can be great, but it requires hell of bureaucracy.
So I'm baffled as to how this fits in with the focus on decentralisation. 'Freedom to innovate locally?' This sounds like a recipe for bad research. Again, this is happening now: GP practices and hospitals are able to apply for and conduct research on their own terms. This is often badly managed, badly reported, and not disseminated outside the people doing the work. Reducing inequalities and implementing standard practice has to be centrally co-ordinated.
In short: their approach seems to be to shoehorn a positively red approach to health into a blue framework. like getting a pig and forcing it really hard through a wire-mesh fence.
Anyone want to help me out here? Am I missing some subtle aspect of Conservative party policy/philosophy that somehow makes this sensible?