“Best practice” is currently being used to enable modernisation within the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom. One element of this is the Beacon programme where examples of hospitals that exemplify local “best practice” are supported to develop and disseminate learning across the wider NHS. The aims of this research were to map public health‐related Beacon hospital initiatives and then to identify opportunities and barriers in this context. This was achieved by seeking the views of a range of relevant national and local stakeholders. The work suggests that whilst Beacon hospital projects have some potential in developing relatively innovative activity they are not perceived to be stepping‐stones to wider public health action. Five possible ways forward are suggested.
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