Following on from the Association of Directors of Public Health’s (ADPH) joint response, in partnership with the Faculty of Public Health (FPH), we welcome the publication of the Hewitt Review: An independent review of integrated care systems, which recognises the importance of ICSs being based on equal partnerships between the NHS, local government the voluntary and community sector.
ADPH and FPH echo the calls for shifting the focus of health upstream to prevention, which is essential for improving public health and reducing pressure on our health and care system.
The review also recognises the need for a cross-government approach to health and wellbeing, with all Whitehall departments promoting health and wellbeing. These are essential steps that we require from the Government to improve the health of the nation.
It recommends an increased share of the total NHS budget at ICS level, at least 1% over the next five years, goes towards prevention and is delivered through a working group of local government leaders, including DsPH, and national health bodies. It is crucial that there is a shared understanding of prevention to ensure funding is targeted and achieves effective outcomes. Local leaders in public health possess crucial knowledge and experience which means they have a significant role in defining what we mean by prevention.
We are clear that greater funding and investment in preventative programmes and interventions is required to allow DsPH and local leaders to achieve their goals, so these calls for an increase to the public health grant are well received.
Recommendations have also been made for a greater focus on locally developed priorities, with stronger collaborative links between NHS England, local government and other NHS providers. As well as giving greater focus to the voices of local leaders in public health.
Data sharing amongst these groups, as well as ICSs and CQC, should be equitable to allow accountability and improvement, and should increasingly include outcomes rather than solely inputs and processes.
ADPH and FPH encourage the Government to implement the recommendations from the Hewitt Review so that the full potential of ICSs can be realised to improve public health and reduce health inequalities.