This book sets the scene for the series by comprehensively assessing and critiquing the current state of the public health system in England. It places contemporary challenges and concerns in their historical context, tracing the dominant influence of a medical paradigm on the public health profession and exploring how this has given rise to difficulties for those who subscribe to social or structuralist paradigms. The history of public health is marked by struggles between these competing perspectives and recent policy developments have pointed in contrasting directions. This chapter introduces the various issues that will be tackled in subsequent chapters.
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