THE NHS handing responsibility for public health over to the county council could have been fraught with issues.

Transferring such a huge remit between authorities could easily have resulted in people falling through the cracks of both services.

So it is reassuring to hear that a democratic approach to our health is paying dividends.

In his first annual report on Oxfordshire’s public health, Dr Jonathan McWilliam says that “strong debate” among councillors means that services are being tailored to fit the needs of the county.

Having a group of independently elected citizens to cast their eye over what needs to be done ensures services work in tandem to keep us as fit as possible.

Cutting back on smoking, excess drinking and unhealthy eating does not just fall to government authorities though. We must all take responsibility for our own actions.

Prevention is better than cure, as our grandmothers have always told us, so anything that can keep us in rude health, the better.

We are blessed to have access to health care that is free to us when we need it. It is vital that we look after it in the same way it looks after us.