The British Medical Association (BMA) has welcomed the Health Select Committee's proposal to make new public health organisation for England an independent body.

"At a time when the NHS faces unprecedented financial challenges, it is vital that funding for public health is protected so that doctors and specialists in this area can work towards improving the health of the nation and reducing health inequalities," Co-Chair of the BMA's Public Health Committee Richard Jarvis said in a statement.

The Health Select Committee report has also outlined BMA's other concerns on the government's reforms on public health.

"The Committee picks up on the damage that the reforms have already inflicted on the public health workforce, both in terms of job losses and poor morale. We hope that the government takes the necessary steps to make its reforms workable, both through making amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill and by redoubling its efforts to protect the public health workforce," Jarvis added.

Agreeing with the Committee's findings, BMA's Director of Professional Activities Vivienne Nathanson said, "Responsibility Deals that allow the food and alcohol industry to dictate public health policy are not the answer to either the obesity epidemic or the alcohol misuse crisis that the country is facing. These issues are complex but the government needs to have the courage to make tough decisions like introducing a minimum price on alcohol and mandatory food labelling."

However, the Committee's report concludes that Public Health England must be perceived as being - independent of the government.