FPH responds to Government’s announcement on NHS reforms
The UK’s leading professional body for public health specialists today responded to the Government’s commitment to implementing the core recommendations of the NHS Future Forum but calls for further clarity around the role of public health specialists in the new system.
The UK Faculty of Public Health (FPH) welcomed the commitment by government, in its response to the NHS Future Forum report, to establishing Public Health England (PHE) as an executive agency of the Department of Health (DH).
FPH Vice President, Dr John Middleton said: “Since the announcement of the reforms in July 2010, FPH has been calling for the new national body for public health in England, PHE, to be established as an independent NHS body, ideally as a special health authority or executive agency of the DH. This is to ensure public and professional trust and confidence, and to give the new body
some measure of protection from political ‘interference’.”
“Whilst we welcome government’s commitment to some key recommendations on public health, such as PHE, it still fails to take on board some important public protection measures such as committing to statutory registration of all public health specialists to ensure that those who make vital decisions on the health and wellbeing of large numbers of people meet the required professional standards.”
FPH welcomed the emphasis given to “population health” but as Dr Middleton states: “Government must recognise that this is only one aspect of public health. Public health covers health protection, health improvement, and the commissioning, evaluation and audit of health services. We’re disappointed that government has failed to take on board the NHS Future Forum’s recommendation that specialist public health expertise is embedded in all aspects of the health system. This should include the governing bodies of all clinical commissioning consortia. We’re also disappointed that there continues to be a lack of clarity around the role of public health specialists in local authorities and will be looking to the guidance on Health and Wellbeing Boards to make this clear.”
For interviews and comments contact: FPH Communications Department on 020 7935 3115 or 07962 375169
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Notes for editors
1. The FPH responses to each of the consultation documents under the white paper Healthy Lives, Health People are available on our Public health reforms webpage.
2. The UK Faculty of Public Health is the leading professional body for public health specialists in the UK. It aims to advance the health and wellbeing of the population through three key areas of work: health improvement, health protection and health services. In addition to maintaining professional and educational standards for specialists in public health and providing practical information and guidance for public health professionals, FPH advocates on key public health issues, influencing policy change at the highest level, and working closely with policymakers, professionals and the public to make a positive difference to people’s health and wellbeing.
3. Secretary of State Andrew Lansley will be giving the keynote speech at the FPH Annual Conference on 4 July 2011 at the University of Birmingham. For further information contact FPH on 020 7935 3115.
4. Public health is the science and art of promoting and protecting health and wellbeing, preventing ill health and prolonging life through the organised efforts of society. There are three domains of public health: health improvement (including people’s lifestyles as well as inequalities in health and the wider social influences of health), health protection (including infectious diseases, environmental hazards and emergency preparedness) and health services (including service planning, efficiency, audit and evaluation). All three domains need to be addressed actively by the public health system if the public’s health and wellbeing are to be protected and improved.