Nursing minister Anne Milton has suggested hairdressers could become a force in public health.
Speaking at a King’s Fund seminar last week Ms Milton stressed that “public health is everybody’s business”.
She said: “Somebody mentioned yesterday the hairdresser has somebody sitting in their chair for three hours. This is an opportunity – should we wish to take it up – for a group of people that are very hard to reach, but they do have their hair streaked.”
But Ms Milton appeared to contradict her ministerial colleague Andrew Lansley by saying the government would not be “prescriptive” in whether health visitors would be based at GP surgeries or in SureStart centres.
The health secretary told the Commons health select committee last month: “We see it [health visiting] as a health services, effectively a public health service, allied to SureStart… It’s not something that GP consortia themselves would need to make a decision about.”
On Wednesday Ms Milton told Nursing Times: “We are not going to be prescriptive… It’s what works locally.”