The practice of modern medicine

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Britain. Public health services in Britain are organized locally under the National Health Service. The medical officer of health is employed by the local council and is the adviser in health matters. The larger councils employ a number of mostly full-time medical officers; in some rural areas, a general practitioner may be employed part-time as medical officer of health:

The medical officer has various statutory powers conferred by acts of Parliament, regulations and orders, such as food and drugs acts, milk and dairies regulations, and factories acts. He supervises the work of sanitary inspectors in the control of health nuisances. The compulsorily notifiable infectious diseases are reported to him, and he takes appropriate action. Other concerns of the medical officer include those involved with the work of the district nurse, who carries out nursing duties in the home, and the health visitor, who gives advice on health matters, especially to the mothers of small babies. He has other duties in connection with infant welfare clinics, creches, day and residential nurseries, the examination of schoolchildren, child guidance clinics, foster homes, factories, problem families, and the care of the aged and the handicapped.

United States. Federal, state, county, and city governments all have public health futtctions. Under the U.S. Department of Health end Human Services is the Public Health Service, headed by an assistant secretary for health and the surgeon general. State health departments are headed by a commissioner of health, usually a physician, who is often in the governor's cabinet. He usually has a board of health that adopts health regulations and holds hearings on their alleged violations. A state's public health code is the foundation on which all county and city health regulations must be based. A city health department may be independent of its surrounding county health department, or there may be a combined city-county health department. The physicians of the local health departments are usually called health officers, though occasionally people with this title are not physicians. The larger departments may have a public health director, a district health director, or a regional health director.

The minimal complement of a local health department is a health officer, a public health nurse, a sanitation expert, and a clerk who is also a registrar of vital statistics. There may also be sanitation personnel, nutritionists, social workers, laboratory technicians, and others.

Japan. Japan's Ministry of Health and Welfare directs public health programs at the national level, maintaining close coordination among the fields of preventive medicine, medical care, and welfare and health insurance. The departments of health of the prefectures and of the largest municipalities operate health centres. The integrated community health programs of the centres encompass maternal and child health, communicable-disease control, health education, family planning, health statistics, food inspection, and environmental sanitation. Private physicians, through their local medical associations, help to formulate and execute particular public health programs needed by their localities.

Numerous laws are administered through the ministry's bureaus and agencies, which range from public health, environmental sanitation, and medical affairs to the children and families bureau. The various categories of institutions run by the ministry, in addition to the national hospitals, include research centres for cancer and leprosy, homes for the blind, rehabilitation centres, for the physically handicapped, and port quarantine services.

: 11/11/2009