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FPH statement on the future of the English public health system

Following last week’s announcement of the new UK Health Security Agency, the Government has produced a new policy paper "Transforming the public health system: reforming the public health system for the challenges of our times".

This includes the establishment of a new Office for Health Promotion which will sit within the Department for Health and Social Care and holds the ambition to deliver "more joined-up, sustained action between national and local government". 

FPH has advocated for a strong local system, with a key leadership role for DPHs, which is supported by an effective regional and national system with clear lines of communication and accountability.

We congratulate FPH Fellow Dr. Jenny Harries on her appointment as Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency, and look forward to working with her and UKHSA’s Chair Ian Peters on protecting the public’s health into the future.

The Faculty hopes that the new organisations will be able to partner effectively with local public health leaders, and we welcome the announcement of a new cross-Government Ministerial board on prevention to co-ordinate action on the wider determinants of health and level-up inequalities.

Whilst we are pleased to see Government recognise the importance of embedding public health across all areas of policy, separating the different functions of public health poses significant challenges.

We are also concerned about the lack of clarity on responsibilities for Healthcare Public Health, including screening and immunisation, and we ask the Government for further information on where this important area of expertise will sit within the new public health system.

FPH will be responding to the consultation on the new Policy Paper, and encourage members to read the paper and submit their views on the future of the English public health system.

Published 31 March 2021

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