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Starting a rumour, following Christopher Columbus, and spending other people’s money
  1. John R Ashton

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    Readers will recall that Columbus was adept at following his strategy for exploration by spending other people’s money.1 Bridging the gap between starting a rumour and mobilising resources for change is at the heart of public health—how often have you heard somebody say that they can’t do anything to improve health without knowing where the money is coming from first, yet public health is essentially about shaping and influencing the actions of others and other sectors. An effective public health practitioner should be adept at spending other people’s money, but for this to happen on any meaningful scale it is essential for other players involved to feel a sense of ownership.2 I have long contended that in health and health care we need not Directors of Finance, but Directors of Resources. The mindset that starts with financial resources in health finishes up with doctors, nurses, bricks and mortar, and bits of kit. In reality, the resources for health run much wider, including many human and environmental resources that lie outside the bailiwick of something called health.