Statement: Responding to the launch of the Office for Health Promotion

March 29, 2021 in ADPH Updates, PH System by Lucy Sutton

There are many positive aspects of the public health system reforms, including the key leadership role of the CMO in respect of the Office for Health Promotion and the establishment of a cross-government ministerial board on prevention to address the social determinants of health.

Over the coming weeks, further clarity will be needed around how data, intelligence and the workforce will be connected across the whole system at national, regional, and local levels, including the work of UKHSA and the Office for Health Promotion. A key risk of the reforms overall, remains the fragmentation of the three underpinning domains of public health – health improvement, health protection and healthcare public health.

The health improvement agenda of the DHSC needs to be set jointly by partners including local government, DsPH and NHS, not limited to the Secretary of State. We note the commitment to this ambition at a local level, with ICSs being a ‘partnership of equals’ between the NHS and local government, and DsPH having an ‘official role’ in both the Health and Care Partnership and the ICS NHS Body.

This is a crucial opportunity to build and properly resource a new public health system which is able to drive forward the lessons from COVID-19, by tackling health inequalities, improving health and wellbeing, and ensuring sustainable capacity to effectively respond to current and future infectious diseases. We look forward to working with DHSC, UKHSA and the Office for Health Promotion to strengthen the role of the DPH as an essential part of the future system.